Happy Almost Friday!
I am sharing the letter below that I will be sending to Governor Sununu and others, on 1/22/21 at noon, with you in advance. While I appreciate all of our Governor's efforts, I strongly feel that our staff should be pushed up the vaccination priority list knowing that we can't do everyone at once. That is how I feel both professionally and personally.
There have been a number of people that have indicated that they would like to join me in signing the letter. So if you feel inclined to support the concept of the attached, please take a brief moment to complete these Quick Questions so I can include it with the letter when I send it off. I have to stress this, there is absolutely NO PRESSURE to sign or not sign. It is completely an independent decision with absolutely no judgement one way or the other. Do note that I will be closing this at 11:30 tomorrow morning in order to meet the 12 noon sending.
I hope you have a great weekend and are able to enjoy a simple smile, some laughter and all of the things that bring you happiness!
Dear Governor Sununu,
The purpose of this letter is to advocate for our frontline workers to be included in Group 1B scheduled to begin receiving the COVID-19 vaccination before the end of January. It is understood that there are many working groups that feel they should be prioritized and that there are difficult decisions that need to be made.
While you have made it widely known that you believe our schools are safe and that students can be in person, we live and work in this community and fully understand the importance and value of our workforce. We want our workforce to be as safe as possible while they are facilitating the essential operations of public school. To hear that our staff that provide this essential service required by statute are placed in a second tier level of priority below a non-essential service (albeit important) that is not required by statute is disheartening at best.
The staff in our classrooms directly interact with our student population and should be considered as first responders in the event of an emergency. While many schools employ the services of a professional nurse, when there is an emergency that happens in the classroom, it is the frontline teachers and support staff that are first on the scene providing care and attention to the student in need. As such, they should be considered first responders.
Additionally, there are also instances when a portion of our student population is unable to maintain the wearing of a face covering, require self-care assistance and display behaviors that include, but are not limited, to verbal outbursts and spitting. This is not a knock on our students, as we love each and every one of our students, but a small glimpse of the realities that can also confront our frontline staff and further support the importance of moving them up the vaccination priority list.
Our districts have put in safety procedures similar to those in other school districts around the state. We believe in our procedures and work diligently to ensure that everyone is complying with them. However, for the reasons stated above, I am asking that you reconsider putting the following school based staff in Group 1B to be included in the next phase of vaccinations:
All teachers, related service providers, support staff, nurses and nursing designees, counselors, social workers, support staff and bus drivers that have frequent, regular and immediate direct contact with students as part of their primary job responsibilities.
Food services, building and grounds staff, support staff and administrators that also are in contact with students as part of their primary job responsibilities.
There are additional personnel that are equally crucial to our operations, but these are the individuals that are primarily on the frontline interacting with larger numbers of people (students) and need to be moved up on the priority list. As a Superintendent I know all too well that no decision will fully satisfy everyone. You are faced with a great deal of influences advocating one way or another. I empathize with you as I fully understand how that feels. However, I am respectfully asking that you please reconsider where these essential workers providing a statutorily required function in our state fall on the vaccination priority list. I am happy to discuss this further if you would like and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (603)357-9002 x-221.