Governor John Bel Edwards announced today that Louisiana will begin vaccinating early childhood center workers and K-12 educators and support staff Monday. State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley released the following statement in support of the Governor’s decision.
“I’m grateful and relieved to know our early childhood workers, as well as k-12 educators and school staff, now have access to this vaccine. This signifies the value of our essential employees and will enable even more Louisiana centers and schools to be fully open to serve students, families and communities. I extend my thanks to Governor Edwards, the Louisiana Department of Health and our state’s medical professionals for working alongside us throughout this pandemic and for making our educational community a priority. Although not perfect, Louisiana has managed to maintain an early childcare system and a k-12 educational program throughout this pandemic.”
Dr. Brumley first requested priority vaccine access for educators and staff in a December 12, 2020 letter to LDH Secretary Dr. Courtney Phillips, copied to Governor Edwards. This request drew national attention being one of the first official requests of its kind as it included priority access not just for k-12 teachers and staff but for early childcare center workers as well. This letter was followed by similar requests from advocates across the state. According to the latest data available on the Department’s School Reopening Dashboard, 67 percent of students are participating in fully in-person instruction, 20 percent are fully virtual and around 13 percent are in a hybrid setting.
For over a month, the Department has been working with local systems to develop vaccine distribution plans to help ensure equitable access to these voluntary vaccines and vaccine information. This guidance included identifying the total number of vaccinations needed for their school system as well as recommending that systems coordinate with vaccine partners such as a hospital, clinic, pharmacy, Public Health Office or other entity.