'Teachers should be priority for vaccine' - Union

TEACHERS and education staff should be prioritised for the Covid-19 vaccine to 'save lives and help get children back to school', a teachers' union has said.

It is 'in the national interest' for teachers on the island to be prioritised in the roll-out of the vaccination programme, the NASUWT-Teachers' Union general secretary Dr Patrick Roach has said.

'Teachers and education staff are unable to practice social distancing from their pupils and few are provided with essential PPE as part of their day-to-day roles,' he added.

The NASUWT has presented evidence in England showing that staff working in both secondary and primary schools are far more likely to be infected than the wider community, with rates of virus prevalence amongst school staff between three to four times higher than the prevalence rate for adults.

Early on in Guernsey's second lockdown, a considerable number of cases in the outbreak were linked to schools.

It is “in the national interest” for teachers on the island to be prioritised in the roll-out of the vaccination programme, the NASUWT Teachers' Union has said. (29255900)

'With provision for younger age children and for children with special and additional learning needs, it is clear that there are additional risks present which are comparable to those that exist in the provision of health and social care,' Dr Roach said.

'It is right that health and social care staff are prioritised, but the NASUWT also believes that teachers must also be identified as a priority group for the vaccine.

NASUWT general secretary Dr Patrick Roach said teachers cannot practice social distancing from their pupils and few are provided with essential PPE (PA image, 29255891)

'The recent outbreak in Guernsey affected many schools and large numbers of school staff.

'The impact on this generation of children and young people should not be underestimated and everything that can be done should be done to ensure the safe and sustainable resumption of school and college-based education for all pupils as quickly as possible.'

Gary Upton, NASUWT national executive member for Guernsey said while teachers are doing everything that is being asked of them, they also deserve the same levels of protection in the face of this highly deadly and highly contagious virus.

NASUWT - The Teachers' Union is calling for all teachers and education staff across Guernsey to be priorities for the coronavirus vaccine. (David Davies/PA) (29255874)

'Reducing further disruption to schools means not only that lessons need to be learned, but also that credible and sustainable solutions are implemented,' he said.

'This means that tougher control measures will be needed to ensure workplace safety, together with priority roll out of the Coronavirus vaccines to all frontline education staff in order to minimise further disruption to children’s education.'

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