As the COVID-19 vaccine is being rolled out, educators are preparing to back into the classroom with students. Although there are some questions that surround the plan.
Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the digital divide, the vaccine roll out and President-elect Joe Biden’s cabinet nominations.
Cropper said great progress has been made to make virtual learning accessible to all students. Last school year, the problem was not having devices in the hands of students. She said this problem has been largely fixed in Ohio as COVID relief funding was disbursed.
Currently, the problem is with infrastructure. She said rural districts are facing issues with broadband.
Ohio vaccine roll out
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has said schools should plan to return to in-person classes on March 1 as more Ohioans are vaccinated.
She said that school personnel have been bumped up on the list of recipients and can begin receiving the vaccine on Feb. 1. This is good news, but Cropper fears educators will not be able to receive both doses by the March 1 reopen date.
Additionally, she said there are still concerns around community spread, airflow in schools and more.
Biden cabinet nominees
She said public educators are excited about the nomination of Miguel Cardona as Secretary of Education. As a student, English was his second language, showing that he knows the struggles of many students. Additionally, he has worked in public schools and is an advocate of the system.
Finally, Cropper said she is thankful to have a union member selected as Secretary of Labor. After years of corporate-friendly officials, it is good to see someone who will work for workers.