Berkeley teachers to get vaccinated as district prepares to reopen in-person learning

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- Teachers in the Bay Area are starting to see some movement on the vaccine front. The city of Berkeley and San Mateo County will be vaccinating teachers, a key step to getting kids in classrooms.

The teachers union says this is exactly what teachers have been asking for. After months of negotiations about distance learning and safety measures, they say getting vaccinated is the game changer.

"When vaccinations became available, it changed the conversation. Teachers overwhelmingly support the idea that once they're vaccinated, they feel confident they can work in classrooms with students, who are mobile," said Matt Meyer, President of Berkeley Federation of Teachers.

RELATED: Berkeley Unified unveils COVID-19 vaccination plan for teachers

The city of Berkeley partnered with the school district to help make sure teachers could get appointments. They have enough supply to vaccinate those who teach Pre-K through 2nd grade this week. They hope to get to teachers of higher grades in the following weeks.

"It's very exciting. People had a lot of trouble finding their own vaccine, even though they qualify in Alameda County. So having a coordinated effort will make sure everyone working at school sites will have vaccines," Meyer said.

San Mateo County is also now vaccinating teachers. Officials say they will be vaccinated as supply allows, pointing out supply has been an issue and asking everyone to be patient. In Berkeley, the teacher's union says patience shouldn't be a problem.

"In general people are very excited. There was a lot of frustration, knowing people could get a vaccine but no one could find them and now they're here," Meyer said.

RELATED: California to set aside 10% of all 1st vaccine doses for teachers, Gov. Gavin Newsom announces

Berkeley is planning to get the youngest kids back at school in five weeks, on March 29.

Another phase of kids is expected on April 12 and then finally the High School students on April 19.

The teacher's union says the next issue they will start negotiating is the schedule.


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