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The NASUWT is calling for all teachers and education staff to be prioritised for the coronavirus vaccine to save lives and help get children back to school.
 
It is “in the national interest” for teachers to be prioritised in the roll-out of the vaccination programme, the Union’s General Secretary said.
 
Such a move is essential both to help protect teachers and their pupils but to allow the country to move to a situation where children are back in schools and colleges, minimising the disruption to their education.
 
As teachers and education staff are unable to practice social distancing from their pupils and few are provided with essential PPE, teachers are at a high risk of contracting coronavirus.
 
The NASUWT has presented evidence showing that staff working in both secondary and primary schools are far more likely to be infected than the wider community, with rates of virus prevalence amongst school staff between 3-4 times higher than the prevalence rate for adults.
 
NASUWT General Secretary Dr Patrick Roach said: “It is in the national interest that all teachers and education staff are prioritised in the roll-out of the Coronavirus vaccines.
 
“Teachers and education staff are unable to practice social distancing from their pupils and few are provided with essential PPE as part of their day-to-day roles.
 
“With provision for younger age children and for children with special and additional learning needs, it is clear that there are additional risks present which are comparable to those that exist in the provision of health and social care.
 
“It is right that health and social care staff are prioritised, but the NASUWT also believes that teachers must also be identified as a priority group for the vaccine.
 
“Through the autumn term, we have seen a bad situation getting worse by the day. Now, at the start of 2021, the position is as bad if not worse than it was in March.
 
“The impact on this generation of children and young people should not be underestimated and, it is our view, that everything that can be done should be done to ensure the safe and sustainable resumption of school and college-based education for all pupils as quickly as possible.
 
“We have seen too much disruption to children’s education. Whilst teachers are doing everything that is being asked of them, they also deserve the same levels of protection in the face of this highly deadly and highly contagious virus.
 
“Getting schools open again as soon as possible, without further disruption, means not only that lessons need to be learned, but also that credible and sustainable solutions are implemented.
 
“This means that tougher control measures will be needed to ensure workplace safety, together with priority roll out of the Coronavirus vaccines to all frontline education staff in order to minimise further disruption to children’s education.”
 

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