SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — How soon teachers can expect to get vaccinated depends on where you live and could determine whether the bulk of your kids return to campus this spring or next fall.
Tasha Catlett in West Sacramento wants to wait to send her kids, Mason and Carter, back to school in person.
“If everybody was vaccinated I think it would be a safer way to get back to school for sure,” she said.
Mason is eager to get back to seeing his friends and says he’d be okay going back without his teachers getting the shot.
“I want the vaccine but I would be okay going back to school without it,” he said.
But teachers’ unions argue that teachers shouldn’t be required to return unless they’ve been offered the vaccine.
David Fisher with the Sacramento City Teachers Union said, “We think getting back to in-person instruction is a priority, and if people think that’s a priority then vaccinations for teachers need to be in the mix and need to be a priority also.”
But on Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said that’s not possible because there aren’t enough shots to go around, which would mean kids won’t return to class until the fall.
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He also believes schools can reopen safely before teachers and staff are vaccinated, and that it’s essential to reopen schools this year for the state’s youngest students, where their social and emotional needs are met.
“I am of a firm belief we can safely get back our youngest children in small cohorts,” he said.
Faced with limited supply and dueling priority groups, most of California’s biggest counties haven’t started offering vaccines to teachers. Some counties expect to start vaccinating phase 1B, which does include teachers, in the next few weeks.
But the logistics of when or how still haven’t been shared with the union.
“We heard last week it could be as early as mid-February which is next week, but we haven’t heard any details about how that’s supposed to work,” said Fisher.
The governor said he’s hoping to announce a new school reopening deal with the legislature this week. He’s also hoping to reach a deal allowing more youth sports this week.