Gov. Abbott says Texas teachers should be given priority to COVID-19 vaccine

Gov. Greg Abbott believes Texas teachers should be given priority when it comes to getting vaccinated.

It's something the superintendents of DFW's largest school districts want. And they had sent a letter to the state asking for teachers to be prioritized.

Gov. Abbott is voicing his support for teachers to be near the front of the line to get the COVID-19 vaccine as frontline workers.

Earlier this month, the Texas Urban Council of Superintendents urged the governor to advocate for teachers when it comes to deciding who can get the vaccine first.

No decisions have been made on who gets the vaccine beyond healthcare workers and nursing home residents, but it’s promising news for teachers who are exposed to people every day in their classrooms.

With the first COVID-19 vaccinations for healthcare workers underway in Texas, attention is now shifting to who’s next.

The Texas Urban Council of Superintendents, which includes Fort Worth ISD and Dallas ISD, wrote a letter to Gov. Abbott urged for teachers to be included in among the first to get the vaccine.

In a press event Thursday, a public response came from the governor.

"Teachers play such a pivotal role, and I consider teachers to be frontline workers," Abbott said. "I urge and hope that teachers will be near the front of the line in receiving this vaccine."

For teachers who have been doing their best to adjust to all the changes this school year, it’s welcome news.

"I would say I’m around hundreds of people every day," said Fort Worth ISD Teacher Bill Landy. "I do think it’s important teachers are a part of that frontline just simply because we have such interaction with young people."

Teachers say their students are doing well with all the safety protocols put in place at school, wearing masks and keeping their distance, but they’re still eager to return to some sense of normalcy.

"Of course after the medical professionals and the nursing homes, but yes we should be next," said Fort Forth ISD Teacher Georgia Green. "We should be somewhere at the top there because we really do come every day ready to go and we’re teaching through these masks five classes a day and you get a little muffled. You get a little tired."

Landy already had the virus in September before in-person classes started, but he says he’d be willing to get the vaccine eventually to get more kids back into classrooms safely.

"I think while the vaccine’s not 100%, nothing is," he said. "I think this would alleviate some fears that at least something’s being done to help protect them and I think more importantly help protect kids that are in classrooms."

Though some are eager to be vaccinated, they are still willing to wait their turn.

"I’m all in. Use me first. I’ll go first. Here. Right here," Green said. "Thank you so much. Whether we get it or we don’t, thank you for sticking up for us. Thank you for putting it out there."

Ultimately, it’s up to a panel of doctors and experts to make recommendations and the Texas Commissioner of Health to make the final decisions. They have not yet revealed who’s in the next phase.