MADISON, Wis.– Teachers don’t need to wait for the COVID-19 vaccine to begin teaching their students in person again.
“Schools can be safe as long as those five strategies are used,” said Wisconsin Department of Health Services Undersecretary Julie Willems Van Dijk.
Willems Van Dijk refers to doing, physical distancing, good hand hygiene, covering for coughing, and keeping things clean.
Now, the state has the ability to offer even more protection.
“(Vaccines) are a layer on top of those important mitigation strategies, but an important one,” said Willems Van Dijk. “We want to protect that workforce.”
Educators and child care professionals are jumping to the front of the line to get vaccinated in group 1B.
“We know that teachers work every day with a population that cannot be vaccinated due to their age,” said Willems Van Dijk.
That’s roughly 225,000 people in Wisconsin, and the state believes it will take all of March and part of April to overcome them.
Public Health Madison and Dane County are requesting the state for 14,000 doses to vaccinate teachers at the Alliant Energy Center, but the state will not be able to complete the request immediately.
“No one is getting all the vaccine they asked for,” said Willems Van Dijk.
It won’t stay that way. DHS said the weekly number of doses Wisconsin receives will increase and they hope to help local health departments get vaccinations as quickly as possible.
“We will make a master plan over the next six weeks, so that everyone knows when they will receive the vaccine for their community and school districts,” said Willems Van Dijk.
DHS recommends that vaccinators request to see identification tags or pay stubs to ensure individuals are in eligible professions.
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