Philadelphia school employees to begin receiving COVID-19 vaccine invitations

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Officials in Philadelphia said beginning Wednesday, the first cohort of school employees will receive invitations to sign up for their COVID-19 vaccine.

"CHOP will begin sending invitations to the first cohort of approximately 10,000 individuals, which will include staff members who have already been working in our school buildings and those who will be returning to our buildings to support the instruction and learning for PreK-2 students," according to a news release.

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"I'm ready. I'm ready. I'm 100% ready for it," preschool teacher Lydia Rain said.

Once the employee receives an invitation, they can choose to make an appointment at one of seven locations across Philadelphia.

After the first group of invitations, more will roll out in phases to three additional groups, officials said.

"We are thankful for CHOP and PDPH for their support in this vaccination program, as this will provide an additional layer of safety to the measures already put in place like social distancing, wearing a mask and regular hand sanitizing and washing," said Superintendent Dr. William Hite. "We hope that when our employees receive their appointment invitations, they will choose to get vaccinated as another layer of safety for themselves, their families, the students and their colleagues."

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The news of the vaccine appointment rollout comes of the same day officials announced that the return of in-person learning will be delayed one week.

"...Due to ongoing third-party mediation requested by the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, the start of our plans to slowly and safely begin phasing students and staff back into our schools will be delayed one week," school officials said in a letter posted on their website.

The return to the classroom will begin on Monday, March 1, starting with PreK-2 students whose families chose hybrid learning in the fall.

The Philadelphia school district has also created an in-school student COVID-19 testing strategy. School nurses will test all students using rapid antigen tests.
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