Teachers Uncertain About Vaccination Timeline As State Moves To Phase 2

Monday, January 4th 2021, 9:15 pm

Oklahoma's leaders announce people older than 65 can now get vaccinated as part of Phase 2 vaccine distribution. Some teachers are in a lower tier of Phase 2 and said they hope to get vaccinated soon, but there is no way of knowing when.

One Tulsa Public Schools teacher said she wants the vaccine to go back to teaching in person, but she is worried it may take a while.

"Teachers want to be in classrooms with their kids. We want that more than you," said Sommer Lyons.

Sommer Lyons is a Pre-K Teacher at McKinley Elementary.

Monday was her first day back in the classroom, to teach her young kids who are remotely learning, after a brief stint of in-person learning last semester.

"Thinking a vaccine was coming was very hopeful," Lyons said.

Last month, state leaders announced teachers would be a part of Phase 2 of vaccine distribution. So far, healthcare workers, first responders and now people age 65 and older have the green light to get the shot, but since teachers are in a lower tier of phase 2, they're still waiting. 

 "We're caregivers in the community and we should be prioritized with those taking care of vulnerable populations," Lyons said.

Lyons said her fear is teachers and staff getting sick without a backup plan.

"If we're having all the kids here, we need to have all the teachers vaccinated. If the teachers get sick, there is no sub pool," she said.

Commissioner of Health Dr. Lance Frye said there is a prioritization list for a reason, and they'll be able to vaccinate others in Phase 2 like people with underlying health problems, and teachers, once they receive more vaccine doses.

"Some teachers are higher priority than other teachers, some are over 65 with comorbidities," said Dr. Frye.

"We can't not vaccinate teachers and then put kids in schools," Lyons said.

Tulsa Public Schools is sending kids back to in-person learning bases on grades. Kids Pre-K to 3rd grade are set to go back on January 25.