The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation is pleased to finally see the province’s teachers moved ahead in the queue for COVID vaccines.
The provincial government announced Tuesday that once Saskatchewan residents 40 and older are eligible to receive the vaccine in one week, front-line workers over the age of 16 will be able to receive the vaccine, including teachers.
STF President Patrick Maze says it’s great news for teachers.
“We’re hoping that within the next week or two that process can begin, and of course it takes a couple of weeks to develop immunity after getting vaccinated and so that puts us into mid-May,” Maze said. “It gives us basically a month-and-a-half of protection for young teachers who previously had been kind of been left exposed in the classroom.”
Maze says roughly half of the teachers in the province will be age-eligible to receive the vaccine anyway, but there’s still lots of younger teachers who will need vaccines.
“They’re the ones who have been writing to me with significant concerns,” Maze said. “Some say they’re 25-27 years old and they hear the stories of their students who have traveled over the Easter break to Manitoba or traveled to Alberta, or even just getting together with large family gatherings over the Easter break.”
Maze says with three variants of COVID-19 now spreading across the province, it’s important for teachers to get those vaccines.
“Teachers are really exposed in their classrooms, and all education workers are really exposed in schools and in their classrooms,” Maze said. “Students do their best with wearing masks and the provisions that are put in place in schools, but at the same point they’re young and they make some mistakes from time to time.”
Maze says there’s still a need for rapid testing to happen in Saskatchewan’s schools, so he would like to see those tests heading to schools as soon as possible.