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Private school teachers need expedited vaccine access, too | READER COMMENTARY

Pharmacist Jimmy Leonard, who works for the Maryland Poison Center, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Rita Nasser a dental assistant from Manchester, during a vaccination clinic for individuals in phase 1A of the vaccine rollout, including first responders, health care providers and nursing home staff at Winters Mill High School in Westminster Friday, Jan 8, 2021.
Pharmacist Jimmy Leonard, who works for the Maryland Poison Center, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Rita Nasser a dental assistant from Manchester, during a vaccination clinic for individuals in phase 1A of the vaccine rollout, including first responders, health care providers and nursing home staff at Winters Mill High School in Westminster Friday, Jan 8, 2021. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

Governor Hogan announced Tuesday that teachers will be included in Phase 1B of COVID-19 vaccinations and that the Maryland State Department of Education will begin coordinating with county school systems to get teachers and critical staff vaccinated (“Maryland Gov. Hogan announces steps to speed coronavirus vaccine rollout, outlines 2-month timeline for priority groups,” Jan. 5).

By working with districts, a large subset of teachers, many of whom have been back in classrooms in person since the fall, are left off the list: private school educators. “Teachers, child care and education staff” appear to be on the 1B list, but what about a distribution plan? If you are not an employee of a public school district or represented by the union, how do you get vaccinated?

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Maryland needs to acknowledge that a teacher is a teacher and every educator — public or private — in the classroom with our children should have the same access to the vaccine under this phase of the rollout.

Ben Shifrin

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The writer is head of Jemicy School, a private school for students with dyslexia or other related language-based learning differences located in Owings Mills.

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