Many Oregon educators concerned over returning to class without getting vaccine

MEDFORD, Ore. – As schools get closer to returning to in-person learning teachers are pushing for vaccines. Gov. Kate Brown announced last night educators will be part of the next group to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Now some education unions are concerned prior to return to in-person classrooms.

“Teachers have always from the beginning wanted their students back in person. The challenge is how to do that and at the same time keep everybody safe,” said Troy Pomeroy.

The Lake Oswego Teachers Union said three-quarters of surveyed members want a vaccine or health indicators to support reopening before they go back.

Medford Education Association President, Troy Pomeroy said many of his members are ready to return to class, but some have doubts.

“We’re pretty clear that when the vaccine’s available we will be more comfortable and feel safer. You know, the people who are not comfortable it’ll make them more comfortable. And I think it just makes everybody safer to have a vaccine,” said Troy Pomeroy.

Medford School District Superintendent Bret Champion said he has the numbers to back up a return to campus.

“Over 63 percent [to] 64 percent of our staff said they were comfortable with few to some concerns,” said Dr. Champion.

Those concerns, Superintendent Champion said include going back to school without a vaccine roll-out plan.

The Medford School District doesn’t know when it’s teachers will be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Medford School District has not released any finalized plans for reopening yet. The district has a Task Force helping build a plan. It’s goal to release a plan is on January 20. The target to begin the new model is Mid-February.

The Medford School District said it will not force its employees to get the vaccine, but it will highly encourage it.

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NBC5 News reporter Katie Streit comes from her hometown, Las Vegas. Katie went to the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism & Media Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. While in Las Vegas, Katie won a Student Emmy for her coverage of the Las Vegas Shooting Anniversary. She also hosted and produced the university's political news show, where she interviewed Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-1). Her passion for politics turned into a coveted internship at the US Capitol in Washington D.C. In her final months working in the Las Vegas area, she was recognized for her journalism achievements by the Nevada Broadcaster's Foundation. Katie is excited to tell the stories of local Southern Oregonians and Northern Californians. Feel free to contact her at [email protected]
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