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Goal of this week's vaccine rollout for educators: keep students safe and in class

The Connecticut Department of Public Health recommends that educators work with their school districts to schedule their appointments.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Keeping students safe and schools open. It is why teachers and school staff will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine on March 1st. Educators say it’s a big step in continuing to deliver an effective education academically and social-emotionally.

"The opportunity to be vaccinated is very important for their own health and well-being as well as the broader community," said Patrice McCarthy, the Deputy Director, and General Counsel for the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education

The process of vaccinating teachers and school staff has begun, with some school districts already collecting signups ahead of the official March 1st date to begin administering the vaccine.

"Once individuals are vaccinated, they will reduce the need for quarantine should they be exposed to someone that has COVID or potentially has COVID," said McCarthy.

Teachers, in-school staff, volunteers, bus drivers and childcare professionals will be eligible to receive their first dose of the vaccine Monday along with those over the age of 55 years old.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health recommends that educators work with their school districts to schedule their appointments through the clinics being set up in their communities

"It’s going to be more convenient and it’s going to lead to a more efficient vaccination process," said McCarthy.

The city of New Haven will be offering clinics at 16 different schools on March 3rd and later in the month. Their goal is to vaccinate their 3,500 educators as quickly as possible.

"There’s some special days we have set up for teachers and other school staff," said Mayor Justin Elicker. "A lot of our nurses are in the schools already so they will be setting up special days at many of the schools."

Educators along with the 55 and older population expand the aperture for eligible vaccine recipients by over 660,000 people. With only 130,000 doses of the vaccine coming into the state every day, leaders are urging patience.

"Everyone has to exhibit patience," said McCarthy. "We have great encouragement that more vaccine is coming into Connecticut, so we are moving in the right direction."

Governor Ned Lamont says the state will be receiving the new single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week. He believes the first shots can be injected into arms as soon as Tuesday.