By Ryan Hill

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Teachers in Sacramento County will be able to get vaccinated against COVID-19 on Tuesday.

“It’s a real sign that things are moving forward,” Kerri Hock, a culinary arts teacher at Cosumnes Oaks High School, said.

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Educators in the Elk Grove Unified School District like Hock and Shelley Walker are beyond happy about the move.

They’re looking forward to getting rid of their virtual desks.

“I just want to get back into the classroom and I want to be teaching,” Hock said.

“It’s the first step in a return to some normalcy for both teaching and the students,” Shelley Walker, an English teacher at Pleasant Grove High School, said.

The district is partnering with California Northstate University in its mission to vaccinate employees.

Roughly 200 volunteers will help expand capacity at the university and district shots to teachers and staff.

A spokesperson for EGUSD also mentioned that the district is asking employees to allow those who work in-person to be able to go first when receiving their vaccinations.

The district also added that it’s confident it can realistically vaccinate all of its roughly 7,000 employees with their first dose within four weeks.

The Sacramento City Unified School District is hoping to achieve the goal of vaccinating its roughly 4,500 employees by the end of March. It plans on holding the first clinic for employees in its partnership with Dignity Health on Friday.

A spokesperson for Sac City lists these as the vaccination dates:

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  • Friday 2/19 – first dose; Friday, 3/12 – second dose
  • Friday 2/26 – first dose; Friday, 3/19 – second dose
  • Friday 3/5 – first dose; Friday 03/26 – second dose

Both Elk Grove USD and Sac City USD said that some of their employees were previously eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine under previous categories; school nurses and those 65 and older. The districts also stated that some employees may also get their vaccinations from primary care providers or other community clinics.

CBS13 spoke to representatives of both of the teachers’ unions for Elk Grove Unified and Sac City.

The vice president of the Elk Grove Education Association James Sutter told CBS13 he is confident all employees will be able to receive the vaccination within the expected timeframe. But there are concerns when it comes to the second dose.

“My biggest concern, of course, is the pipeline of being able to get vaccine to our state and our locals to be able to supply that organization,” Sutter said.

A representative with the Sac City Teachers’ Association told CBS13 that, based on conversations with the county and the district, there’s some expectation that there is a process in place that all Sac City employees will be able to get a first dose of the vaccine in the coming weeks.

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Many teachers are eager to get back to the classroom. And, many parents are hoping the vaccine will lead the way.

“With them getting the vaccine, I’m excited that we might be able to go back sooner rather than later,” Wendy Vasquez said.

“I want the teachers to be comfortable as well. If they’re feeling comfortable, I think they’re going to teach better,” Derek Ries said.

EGUSD also told CBS13 that it is not mandatory for staff to have the vaccine for the district to continue its process for reopening schools.

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It also has mitigation strategies prepared and will be posting them to the district’s COVID-19 Safety Plan on its website for community feedback.