Ala. superintendent weighs in on vaccine timeline for teachers, remote learning

By Randi Hildreth| 

December 10, 2020 at 5:32 PM CST – Updated December 10 at 5:32 PM

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey weighed in on the COVID vaccine and remote learning during Thursday’s state school board meeting.

He joined the meeting virtually as he continues his quarantine after a COVID-19 exposure.

During Thursday’s meeting, he said many teachers are having to quarantine too and it’s making it harder for schools to stay open. He noted he got 5-6 emails just before the meeting about schools needing to switch to remote learning because of cases and staffing.

“I talked to a superintendent in the Black Belt who said of their 32 staff members, 14 were at home on quarantine. None had tested positive, but it’s just impossible to run a school,” said Dr. Mackey.

The update comes after Governor Ivey recently urged schools to transition to more in person learning, but Dr. Mackey says some schools are already delaying the start in 2021.

As he looks ahead to next year, he hopes it will include vaccination measures for school staff that could help keep them in buildings.

“The first round will have to be for hospital workers who treat COVID patients,” said Mackey. “As more vaccines become available, we do expect school nurses to be in the second round and teachers to be quickly behind that.”

Dr. Mackey ended the superintendent report saying that he’s learned we’ve lost at least two more teachers to COVID-19.