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With push on to reopen schools, no letup on drumbeat to vaccinate teachers

Earnest Bass, a custodian at McCormack Middle School in Dorchester, moved boxes of supplies to a classroom on Sept. 21, 2020. Students began the school year remotely.
Earnest Bass, a custodian at McCormack Middle School in Dorchester, moved boxes of supplies to a classroom on Sept. 21, 2020. Students began the school year remotely.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Teachers face real risk every time they’re in school

I am a 56-year-old teacher at Needham High School, where we have been teaching in person four days a week since September. I am supportive of our hybrid model not only because face-to-face instruction is critical to our students but also because Needham has done a good job at implementing the mitigation measures recommended by public health experts.

That said, my colleagues and I face real risk every time we are in the building. During one class, I was exposed for 85 minutes to two contagious students, while a third student became infected. In that class of 24 students, at least five have had COVID-19 this year, and we have had 91 cases in the building.


At least 30 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have made teachers eligible for vaccination. If Massachusetts values education (”State calls for open schools,” Page A1, Feb. 24), it should begin vaccinating teachers now.

Cathy Dowd


Mass. call to return to schools is missing something

Re “State calls for open schools”: Would someone explain to me why, if getting kids back into schools is a priority, vaccinating teachers is not a priority?

Vann J. Snyder


The headline “State calls for open schools” should have been followed by the subhead “All teachers will be vaccinated by April 1.”

Eileen Padua


CDC message is only guidance — vaccination should still be priority

Re “CDC guidance on schools welcomed” (Page A1, Feb. 13): As a former teacher and former employee at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and as a physician, I believe teachers should have the option to be fully vaccinated before they return to in-classroom teaching.

When I worked at the CDC many years ago, it had a well-earned reputation as an organization devoted to science and the eradication of contagious diseases. In the last four years, it has lost its credibility. It will take time to rebuild trust that the organization will put facts over politics. So, when the CDC makes recommendations about school, suggesting it is guidance only, I, for one, would not fully endorse their findings.


As a former teacher, I remember the multitude of demands placed on the profession. Why would we add one more anxiety to the work they must do and want to do? Teachers should not have to worry that they might possibly become ill or die if they return to the classroom.

Let’s move teachers up the list and get them fully vaccinated so that they can return to the classroom focused on helping their students learn without fear that they or their families may get sick in the process.

Dr. Susan Shelton


Without federal mandate, we’ll go on making teachers wait

As someone whose daughter has dedicated her career to teaching here in Massachusetts, I’m deeply concerned by this month’s pronouncement by the CDC. The agency said that COVID-19 vaccination of teachers should be made a prioritybut “should not be considered a condition for reopening schools.”

We so often wring our hands over, and give lip service to, the plight of teachers and support staff when they have to dip into their own pockets to get supplies, or when their schools are given insufficient protection from intruders because of cost cutting. And now this. Teachers indeed should be prioritized for getting the shots — the problem is that no actual mandate requires states to move them up on the priority list.


Michel L. Spitzer

Jamaica Plain