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Marion County Public Schools urges DeSantis to prioritize school workers for vaccination


The Marion County School Board and superintendent have written Gov. Ron DeSantis, urging him to prioritize teachers and other front-line school workers for COVID-19 vaccinations.

They acknowledge the state's focus on seniors and health care workers but argue that school employees should be next.

Some 87 percent of Marion County students are back in school in person now.

And the educational impacts of coronavirus cases and quarantines have added up. Students have lost more than 83,000 classroom days and employees nearly 10,000 days at work.

The letter asks that all school employees be classified as essential workers as far as vaccines are concerned, with a priority for those with direct student contact, like teachers, bus drivers and cafeteria staff.

Marion County is not the first to press this issue. Florida educators have been pleading with the governor for several weeks now.

In January, Lake County Schools sent off a similar letter, noting the governor's belief in the importance of, quote, "instructional continuity." The letter says the best way to get there is to prioritize those front-line workers for vaccination.

Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.
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