Teachers petition for vaccinations ahead of schools reopening

Primary and secondary schools will reopen on in England on March 8 after being closed for more than two months. 

The news is part of the Prime Minister’s roadmap to lead the country out of the third lockdown by June 21 when all restrictions are set to be lifted. 

While going back to school will be a relief for many pupils and parents, some teachers are concerned and believe teachers should be prioritised for vaccination.

More than 200,000 people have already signed a petition on Change.org.

Emma Tonkinson started the petition because her mother, who is a primary school teacher, is amongst those who continued to go to work during the period of the lockdown. 

On the petition page she said: “If teachers are not given the option to protect themselves soon and are taken unwell, the consequences could be catastrophic to the entire education department.

“I am calling upon the UK government to please prioritise vaccinating the teachers who are continuing to risk their lives to look after the children that still have to go into school.”

Earlier this month, the Department for Education published a guide for all schools to follow during the lockdown.

As cited in the publication: “During the period of national lockdown, primary, secondary, alternative provision and special schools will remain open to vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers only.”

Meanwhile, Scotland started a phased return to school on February 22, with pupils from pre-schools and years one to three in primary schools being the first. 

Scotland will not follow the same path as England, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon saying that students will go back to school on different dates: years four to seven from March 15 and the rest from April 5. 

In an interview with iProspect, Adam Wilson, a father of two young children who already went back to school in Edinburgh, has said: “While it has certainly been a big relief for me, I can’t help but feel guilty knowing that so many parents and kids have to keep waiting [for the schools to reopen].

“This doesn’t mean I’m not concerned about the virus and I’m aware there are risks still out there. […] I certainly think all teachers should get a vaccine; they’re on a par with frontline workers for me.”  

During the past year, the majority of parents had to come to terms with homeschooling, which has been an experience that made families appreciate more the role teachers have in their kids’ lives. 

At the same time, the lockdown has allowed parents to bond more with their children.

Barry Loughran, father of three children, told iProspect: “We will continue with homeschooling where possible though because we’ve seen great progress doing it with our children.

“One on one teaching has been great for our 6-year-old who has come on so much just by reading and writing daily.”

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