State Senator Carolyn Comitta today released the following statement regarding the Chester County Health Department’s recently announced updates to its Pre-K-12 Grade Health and Safety Plan Guidance and plans for local school districts to return to full-week, in-person instruction:
“While I understand that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant and ongoing impacts to students, families, and our entire system of education, I believe that fully reopening schools must be carefully balanced with the safety of educators and staff.
Please know that I will continue to strongly advocate for educators and school staff to be prioritized in the vaccination process.
In my efforts to get vaccines to our educators and school staff, I have:
- Asked Pennsylvania Department of Health officials about much-needed plans to prioritize vaccinations for educators and staff at a recent Senate hearing. Watch that here: Sen. Comitta HHS Committee Remarks – Senator Carolyn Comitta (pasenatorcomitta.com)
- Reemphasized the need to vaccinate educators and school staff to the Pennsylvania COVID-19 Joint Task Force and expressed my concerns in writing to the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH). If educators and school staff are not going to be vaccinated in 1A, I am encouraging the DOH to prioritize them in 1B. Read that letter here.
- Brought together 13 Chester County superintendents, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and the governor’s office to increase communication on pandemic-related issues, including vaccinating educators and staff.
In addition, the Senate Health & Human Services Committee and the Senate Education Committee are scheduled to hold a joint, public hearing, Wednesday, March 3, 2021, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. focused on K-12 education during the COVID-19 pandemic. I expect vaccine distribution for school personnel to also be a subject of discussion.
Please know that as a former educator and a mother and grandmother, I understand and fully appreciate the seriousness of prolonged school closures and the ongoing impacts of limited in-person instruction on learning, student growth and development, behavior, and other important factors.
However, I also know that many educators and school staff have and continue to put their health and safety on the line in the interest of students and young people. This has not been an easy situation for them, nor has it been for our students, our families, and our overall communities.
But with another vaccine being made available this week and continued efforts to increase the supply and deployment of vaccinations, I am optimistic that we can prioritize the vaccination of educators and school staff as more districts move to full, in-person reopening.”