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Joe Biden announces plan to get educators shots through federal program by March 


Citing the severe impact of the pandemic on children and on the workforce, President Joe Biden announced Tuesday that he would use federal powers to prioritize educators and child care workers for vaccine shots this month.

Speaking at the White House, Biden described a general of students as being ‘on the brink.’ He brought up school openings – an issue that has brought partisan attacks and that has provoked a split among Democratic-leaning teachers and some parents eager to get their children back in school.

‘I’m using the full authority of the federal government. I’m directing every state to do the same,’ Biden said. 

President Joe Biden announced a program Tuesday to get educators at least one coronavirus vaccine shot by the end of March

Many states are already prioritizing teachers near the top of the line for vaccinations, but Biden said he would use federal authority to move them up as needed. Some schools seeking to reopen have also been contending with teachers and support staff who do not want to take the vaccine. 

‘My challenge to all states, territories and the district of Columbia is this. we want every educator, school staff member, child care worker to receive at least one shot by the end of the month of March,’ Biden said.

‘To help make this happen, starting next week and for a month, month of March, we’ll be using our federal pharmacy program to prioritize the vaccination of pre-K through 12 educators, staff and child care workers. The program is one that the administration established to work with pharmacies nationwide to try to boost vaccine distribution.

‘I want to be very clear. Not every educator will be able to get their appointment in the first week. But our goal is to do everything we can to help every educator receive a shot this month, the month of March,’ he said.

A bus drops students off as classes resume after teachers received the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination, at Westwood Elementary School in Dayton, Ohio, U.S., March 1, 2021

A bus drops students off as classes resume after teachers received the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination, at Westwood Elementary School in Dayton, Ohio, U.S., March 1, 2021

Ryan, 5, drinks milk during a zoom class as the Westchester Family YMCA provides a safe distance learning environment for local students during the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 2, 2021

Ryan, 5, drinks milk during a zoom class as the Westchester Family YMCA provides a safe distance learning environment for local students during the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 2, 2021

Demonstrators hold posters reading 'Classroom No Zoom, Kids Matter' and 'Open Schools Now!' during a protest to reopen schools organized by 'Open Los Angeles Schools Now!' at the Arthur E. Wright Middle School in Calabasas, North West of Los Angeles, California

Demonstrators hold posters reading ‘Classroom No Zoom, Kids Matter’ and ‘Open Schools Now!’ during a protest to reopen schools organized by ‘Open Los Angeles Schools Now!’ at the Arthur E. Wright Middle School in Calabasas, North West of Los Angeles, California

‘This is a national imperative, that we get our kids back into the classroom safely and as soon as possible,’ he said. 

Biden made the announcement after speaking to the toll school closings have had on both students and their parents. Economic studies have shown female workers are bearing the brunt.

‘Right now, an entire generation of young people is on the brink of being set back a year or more in their learning,’ he said. ‘You can ask millions of parents, they understand. We’re already seeing rising mental health concerns due in part to isolation. Educational disparities that have always existed grow wider each day,’ he said. 

He echoed comments by the head of the Centers for Disease Control. 

‘Let me be clear. We can reopen schools if the right steps are taken, even before employees are vaccinated,’ he said. 

His comments come days after President Donald Trump demanded schools reopen – seizing on education as a potential campaign issue. 

Trump accused Biden of having ‘caved to the teachers unions.’

‘They’re cheating the next generation of Americans out of the future that they deserve, and they do deserve this future,’ Trump said. ‘They’re going to grow up and they’re going to have a scar.’

Biden used the event to pitch his $1.9 trillion coronavirus response plan, which passed the House without any Republican votes and is set to come up in the Senate.

He said reopening schools will require new resources for cleaning, buses, and air filtration and circulation systems. 

‘Let’s treat in-person learning like the essential service that it is,’ he said. 



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