Atlanta school district working on vaccine plan for teachers

Atlanta Public Schools is working to provide the coronavirus vaccine to teachers, though it’s unclear if that can happen before classrooms are scheduled to reopen later this month.

In a statement released Wednesday to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, APS said a vaccination plan for employees “is currently under development.” APS said it has not received a timeframe from state or county health officials for when vaccines will be available for school system workers.

Teachers are scheduled to receive vaccinations as part of “phase 1B” of the vaccine rollout. That second wave follows those in the highest priority groups, which include healthcare workers, staff and residents of long-term care facilities and others.

In addition to teachers, others eligible for vaccines as part of phase 1B include school and district staff members and school resource officers.

During a Wednesday meeting of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, Commissioner Bob Ellis urged the county’s board of health to consider vaccinating educators age 65 and older before school buildings reopen for in-person learning following the winter break.

“I do think that that’s something that would be worthy for us to explore with particularly the school systems that are going to be back face-to-face,” he said.

APS has held classes online only since mid-March, but the district plans to give students the option to return to buildings starting with its youngest grades on Jan. 25.

The Fulton County school district is scheduled to resume in-person classes next week.

Elsewhere, plans are underway to vaccinate school employees. Gwinnett County Public Schools expects to begin a vaccination program in the upcoming weeks.

In Cobb County, Marietta City Schools offered the vaccine this week to employees aged 65 and older, who are part of the first phase of Georgia’s vaccination plan.