‘This Is Huge': Mass. Educators Respond to Biden's Vaccine Announcement

President Joe Biden announced that teachers, school staff and child care providers should receive at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine by the end of March

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An announcement from President Joe Biden that people working in schools will be prioritized for the coronavirus vaccine has Massachusetts teachers looking ahead.

Eighth grade English teacher Nancy Mades-Byrd has been fully remote for almost a year.

"I cannot wait to be in a room with students again," said Mades-Byrd.

She says the plan to vaccinate teachers puts her one step closer to being back at Pickering Middle School in Lynn. But she knows the vaccine is just one part of staying safe.

"I don't think that any of us, at this point, are naïve enough to say we're all just going to get our shots and life goes back to normal," she said.

Tuesday, Biden called teachers essential workers and said they should all be able to get at least one vaccine dose by the end of March.

"We're concerned that there's a rush with the presence of vaccination to ignore the other important pieces," said Jessica Wender-Shubow, president of the Brookline Educators Union.

She says besides the vaccine, coronavirus guidelines like masks and social distancing must also be a priority.

"We're concerned that there's a pretty flip attitude about there being no need for social distance inside schools," said Wender-Shubow.

As for the rollout, Biden wants all teachers, staff and child care providers to be able to get the vaccine at pharmacies starting next week.

"This is huge," said Merrie Najimy, president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association. "This is going to bring a lot of joy to all school employees."

She added a message for Gov. Charlie Baker.

"Now Governor Baker, get with the program and get us in line," she said.

Baker's office has not returned a request for comment.

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