One of the first things President-elect Joe Biden is expected to do when he takes office this week is sign an executive order to reopen schools. But unfortunately, that one signature alone isn’t going to get kids back into classrooms immediately.
The CDC has prioritized teachers and school staff as “essential workers,” which means they will be next in line to get the COVID-19 vaccine. But the big question remains how many teachers actually elect to get the vaccination, and when. Availability for the vaccine currently varies from state to state.
Take the state of New York as an example. Governor Andrew Cuomo has said that police, firefighters, public transit workers, other first responders and teachers are eligible to get vaccinated first. That amounts to over 3 million people, yet the state is only allocated 300,000 doses per week by federal guidelines.
A recent study shows that about 60% of K-12 students began this past school year exclusively with distance learning. 20% began with a mix of in-person classes and remote schooling, and just 20% of all students started the year in their classrooms full time.
Look for Biden to sign the executive order for reopening schools on Thursday, the day after his inauguration. There will be additional funding allocated for this purpose, of which details will be explained at a later date.