An Open Letter to the Community
Our Students Deserve
Safe and Healthy Schools!
Vaccinate Teachers Now.
The teachers in Solano County are eager to return to our students in-person as soon as schools are safe for students, educators, families, and the community. Although we have been working hard to engage our students through distance learning, teachers recognize the social, emotional, and academic challenges facing our students during the pandemic. We also have compassion for the families in our communities who have experienced hardship and childcare challenges. It is absolutely necessary that we return in-person as soon as possible.
Vaccinations for teachers are crucial to being able to reopen schools for in-person instruction for our students. While personal protective equipment (masks), physical distancing, ventilation, and surveillance testing are important, these measures are insufficient to keep the community safe. We have seen numerous school districts open, then and shut down due to the inadequacy of these safety protocols.
On February 10th, the presidents of teachers associations across Solano County met with Dr. Matyas, Solano County’s Public Health Officer. In that meeting, he offered teachers vaccinations on February 19 and 20 if we agreed to return to in-person instruction after vaccination. These dates came and went and no teachers were provided the vaccine, despite multiple attempts to get information from Dr. Matyas in order to execute this plan.
President Biden, Governor Newsom, and the public health officials surrounding Solano County have recognized the need to vaccinate teachers before they return to school in-person. Governor Newsom has even committed to set aside 10% of vaccines for teachers. Why, then, aren’t teachers of Solano County being given vaccinations so students and teachers can return to school? Why is Dr. Matyas being allowed to create his own public policy that is contradicting the policy of elected decision-makers, including President Biden and Governor Newsom, as well as the health officials in counties surrounding Solano?
Many teachers are older. Forty percent of educators in Solano County are between the ages of 50 and 65. Many have pre-existing conditions. We are seeking the vaccination that our colleagues in other counties have received. We can be back in our schools teaching students in four to five weeks if vaccines were distributed now. Only one bureaucrat, Dr, Matyas, is preventing children returning to school and helping our community take a step toward normalcy.
We must keep educators, students, and the community safe during this pandemic. It is unrealistic to expect that school districts that are under-funded and under-resourced be able to take on this responsibility alone. It requires partnership from county public health and access to vaccines for teachers.
We are eagerly waiting for our turn for vaccine opportunities so we can see our students in-person once again.
Carolyn Fields, Benicia Teachers Association
Kathy Michals, Dixon Teachers Association
Nancy Dunn, Fairfield-Suisun Unified Teachers Association
Christine Shannon, Griffin Education Association
Jennifer Dickinson, Solano County Education Association
Mark Nowag, Travis Unified Teachers Association
Todd Blanset, Vacaville Teachers Association
Kevin Steele, Vallejo Education Association