STF disappointed to see teachers not included in early COVID-19 vaccination effort

The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation is wondering why teachers were left out of Phase Two of the COVID-19 vaccine plan.

President Patrick Maze says it would have been a good way to show appreciation to teachers who are working on the front lines.

“It’s also a case though of mixed messages from the government,” Maze said. “We hear that the economy is of the up-most importance, but we know that classrooms are being shut down in various spots around the province as COVID cases enter into our schools.”

Maze says he believes teachers should be getting the vaccine right after at-risk seniors and health-care workers.

“I don’t hear anybody questioning the fact that those groups should be vaccinated first,” Maze said. “That said, we know that teachers are at risk and school staff are at risk given the fact that there’s no social distancing in schools and given the fact that schools have so many spin-off effects on the greater community if you end up having to isolate a classroom.”

Maze says there have been conversations with the province to try and get teachers the vaccine sooner, but those calls seem to be left unheard.

“It’s a strange decision to have people who are able to work from home or people who are retired and maybe are in their mid-60s and are healthy and retired and are able to stay at home to have them bumped up ahead of teachers who may be in that same age bracket — or a little bit younger — but are in front of students every day.”

Maze adds the province and school boards have access to rapid response kits, and they should be used. He’d also like to see rapid testing in school communities to ensure staff and student safety.

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