CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – “If he [Governor Jim Justice] really cares about the students and teachers of West Virginia, he needs to make this a priority.”
Teachers across the Mountain State, who wish to remain anonymous, are now worried because of a change in how they can pre-register for the COVID-19 vaccine.
“My wife teaches high school and these kids are out running around they’re hanging out in groups so my wife is genuinely concerned.”
A notice was given to every teacher in the Putnam County school system, stating in bold “school systems will not be receiving anymore first round vaccines.”
“No other teachers would be receiving the vaccination through the school system…that we would have to register on the DHHR website.”
Now, teachers who did not receive their first dose will have to pre-register like the general public.
This is especially concerning for Putnam County schools, as they are now fully back to in-person learning.
“We’re not on a blended learning schedule. We’re full steam ahead with kids in the classroom 5 days a week, and you know with 1,000+ kids in a building… that’s scary. Especially because we get positive notices every day. This is just a message that they don’t care about our safety. You know, we’re in a room with 30+ kids with no social distancing. I mean we’re wearing masks and I put dividers in my classroom – many classes don’t – but this just says to me that our safety isn’t a top concern.”
“I mean she [my wife] wants to be in school. She doesn’t want to be remote but she’s genuinely concerned. She would’ve felt better about it if she was going to get vaccinated. But now, she’s like ‘well I may not get vaccinated… until school is out!'”
“It’s concerning that we aren’t moving along at the rate the Governor said, and the state had indicated,” said Jeremy Farley, president of the Board of Education for Logan County schools.
South of Putnam, Logan County schools have also struggled with vaccinating their employees.
“I’ve seen him [Governor Jim Justice] on television. I’ve seen him in news conferences saying West Virginia is leading the way in how we’re handling vaccinations and I’m a little disappointed we haven’t been able to get our employees at least the first round of vaccines. So this may mean in the long term we will spend more time blended than what we would’ve hoped and I’m sure what the State Board of Education hoped for as well.”
Farley says they have not been able to get below the 50-year-old mark in vaccinations for his employees.
Jackson County, on the other hand, has done pretty well.
“We’ve worked down from 40 and now we’re starting to hit the upper 30’s and that’s where we’re now switching to this new registration system,” said Blaine Hess, superintendent of Jackson County schools.
Wayne County released a statement today as well, urging teachers to register on the DHHR website.
The bottom line – teachers want to be vaccinated.
And they fear with this new way to register like everyone else, they are no longer a priority.
The state released a statement later today saying “school employees are categorized as essential workers and prioritized as such. They will need to register on the site the same way health care workers have to.”