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Gov. Newsom says schools can reopen safely, Sacramento teachers don't agree

Gov. Newsom's plan to get teachers back in schools does not include vaccinations, but Sacramento County says they will begin vaccinating educators next week.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Gavin Newsom said he's standing with the science from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with the guidance of President Joe Biden's administration regarding why he now feels it is safe to reopen schools amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Sacramento City Teachers Association, however, says it's not safe for them if they aren't vaccinated.

“I am in the firm belief that we can get...our children...back safely into schools,” Newsom said in a press conference Tuesday, standing by his plan to reopen schools. 

Newsom is working with lawmakers to bring legislation to the table that would ramp up personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing in schools. But his plan for reopening fails to include vaccinating teachers.

“We want to provide as many vaccination opportunities as we can, of course. But as I noted, when you are receiving less than 600,000 first doses a week and you start to do that math, if that’s the prerequisite then we need to be honest with people and let them know that’s it’s very unlikely that we will be able to accomplish that very idealistic goal before the end of the school year,” Newsom said.

Sacramento City Teachers say they want the vaccine before they step foot into a classroom, saying in a statement to ABC10, "While safely opening schools for in-person instruction may look different in different districts based on risk factors like infection rates in different neighborhoods, if opening all schools safely is a priority then vaccinations for teachers needs to be a priority.”

"Next week it is our plan to begin vaccinating teachers and child care workers, so we are making progress," Jim Hunt, Director of Health Services Sacramento said.

Sacramento Public Health Officers say they have a plan to open multiple sites, including Cal Expo, to get teachers living within the county vaccinated. But if they don’t receive enough doses from the state the number of appointments available will be limited.

“So far we’ve had conversations with Dignity Health and Kaiser and they were just waiting for us to give them the go-ahead to start planning clinics. So that will help also, especially if they are able to use their own allocation. But they are also dependent on what the state will give them,” Sacramento Public Health Officer Dr.Olivia Kasirye said.

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