A day after President Biden and other public officials ramped up pressure to vaccinate teachers, Gov. Charlie Baker plans to tour an elementary school in Gloucester and make an announcement about COVID-19 vaccinations.
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Education Commissioner Jeff Riley, Education Secretary James Peyser and Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken are scheduled to join the 9 a.m. tour of the West Parish Elementary School in Gloucester. The school is celebrating its 101st day of in-person learning.
Citing improved COVID-19 case numbers, Baker and Riley have begun a push for full-time, in-person education at all Massachusetts elementary schools by April. That push has been met with calls for the administration to more quickly allow teachers to receive vaccinations.
On Tuesday, President Joe Biden said 30 states have prioritized educators for vaccinations and directed the others to do the same, saying he wanted "every educator, school staff member, childcare worker to receive at least one shot by the end of the month of March."
"As yet another move to help accelerate the safe reopening of our schools, let's treat in-person learning like an essential service that it is," Biden said. "And that means getting essential workers who provide that service — educators, school staff, childcare workers — get them vaccinated immediately. They're essential workers."
Starting next week and for the month of March, Biden said, the government will use its federal pharmacy program to prioritize the vaccination of pre-K through 12 educators and staff and child-care workers.
"Throughout March, they will be able to prioritize the vaccination of pre-K-through-12 educators and staff and childcare workers," he said. "Throughout March, they will be able to sign up for an appointment at a pharmacy near them."
Tying her demand to Gov. Baker's new push for full in-person elementary school in April, Senate President Karen Spilka said Tuesday that "we need a vaccine program for teachers and staff that is aggressive, and we need it this month."