Vaccines now available for education workers in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The School District of Philadelphia has partnered with the city health department and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to vaccinate education workers.

So far, officials with CHOP say they've vaccinated 1,000 staff members in the city's education field who will or have already come into direct contact with students.

The doses are also available to employees of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's schools, charter schools and Independence Mission Schools as well.

The Roberts Center in South Philadelphia is the first site in operation.

"We'll be expanding next week to six school-based sites throughout the city. Our goal is to complete the two-dose vaccination series for all student-facing personnel in the city within six weeks," said Dr. Ron Keren, the attending physician, senior vice president and chief medical officer at CHOP.

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Teachers and staff of schools in Philadelphia arrived at the Roberts Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday.



The new effort comes as the Philadelphia School District plans to have employees face-to-face with students again. The district is planning on launching hybrid learning for students in grade pre-K through 2nd.

The district says getting a vaccine is not mandatory for employees to come back to work, however, it is highly recommended.

On Tuesday evening, we spoke with Alyssa Butler who is a teacher at Fox Chase Elementary School. If they go back, Butler says she'll feel much safer.

"I teach autistic support grades one and two. Yesterday I got the vaccination through the CHOP program," said Butler.

However, if Butler had it her way, she'd rather have the staff fully vaccinated with both doses before returning.

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"Let's wait out the next six weeks and get the whole district vaccinated. I'm definitely excited to see my kids in person. I feel that kids have been extremely resilient and they've been doing amazing with online teaching," said Butler.

When it comes to parents of students, we're hearing all kinds of opinions on this unprecedented situation.

"Try and make something work! Please, the kids need to be in school," said Gary Baxter of North Philadelphia.

"The teachers have their own family that they have to go to at the end of the night. If they're not OK with that, nobody should be forced," said Latoya Rich of North Philadelphia.

Now the start date, Monday, March 1, is all contingent on the school district and teachers union agreeing on safety standards, especially proper ventilation.

Mediation with a third party continued on Tuesday.
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