As school districts continue to change learning models and a new vaccination plan for educators becomes reality, Education Minnesota continues to update its website and send email updates to its members.
Our COVID webpage, www.educationminnesota.org/resources/in-the-classroom/Coronavirus, includes:
- FAQs on vaccinations, saliva testing, health concerns, prep time, distance learning privacy, special education, paid leaves, unemployment and student loan debt relief.
- Contract bargaining resources including vaccinations, Q Comp guidance, reopening resources, managing workload, ESP-specific considerations and leave provisions.
- A summary of the guidance and executive orders.
- Safety checklists for educators and students and guidance around reopening of school buildings.
- Resources on educator rights and safety concerns regarding reopening of school buildings, including worker’s compensation and OSHA complaints.
On Jan. 18, Gov. Tim Walz announced that the state will launch nine community vaccination sites throughout the state that will prioritize early childhood and K-12 educators.
“We know how hard this has been for students and parents. Educators want to be back with their students too. Free COVID-19 vaccinations for every school staff who wants one should be a priority and Minnesota today is taking another important step in keeping our communities safe and healthy,” said Education Minnesota President Denise Specht after the announcement.
“Vaccinating educators is an important part in reopening school buildings,” Specht said. “As of now, we don’t know how long it will take to get everyone fully vaccinated, but we are ready to get started. Minnesotans must remain diligent and do our part to slow the spread of the virus by wearing masking, maintaining social distancing and following other safety protocols.”
Here are the most critical pieces for you to know, as of press time:
- Right now, there is not enough vaccine supply for all educators to be vaccinated immediately, but all school districts and charter schools will have access to vaccinations, based on their student population, at vaccination sites no more than 90 minutes from their school site. There is a very limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines from the federal government in Minnesota. Walz has repeatedly called on the federal government to purchase more.
- School superintendents will be asked to prioritize educators within each district or charter school to receive the vaccine. The state has created prioritization considerations within schools, which Education Minnesota supports, but school leaders will have some discretion. Education Minnesota will continue updating our website with guidance around the prioritization process as this continues.
- You may notice that the weekly allotments for districts and charter schools are quite small. Keep in mind that this is only each district and charter school’s allotment for the week. We expect the numbers to increase significantly as the federal government ramps up vaccine production and distribution.
- Educators identified by their district for vaccination will receive a link to schedule an appointment, which will be required for a vaccination. No educator will be required to be vaccinated at this time, and school leaders will not know who has chosen to be vaccinated and who has declined. Education Minnesota has already released guidance on school vaccination policies in questions 50-55 of our Safe Learning Plan FAQ on our website.
- Education Minnesota will continue to link to more information from the state and provide legal and contractual guidance for all members around these issues as the educator vaccination program continues.