Officials meeting to plan COVID-19 vaccinations for Georgia teachers

Thursday, state officials will talk with school superintendents from all over Georgia to coordinate COVID-19 vaccinations for teachers.

Representatives from the governor's office, the state school superintendent, and 13 district superintendents are expected to take part in the virtual meeting at noon.

The idea is to make sure the expansion of vaccine eligibility to include teachers goes off without a hitch. On Monday, March 8, one million kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers as well as school staff will all be OK'd to get vaccinated. To help with the effort, the state plans to open five more mass vaccination sites.

Kemp took heat from school leaders and teacher unions when he initially resisted pressure to authorize educator vaccinations. He maintained protecting older Georgians was more important. But late last month, after it became apparent the Johnson and Johnson vaccine was about to be approved, the governor announced that he'd expand the eligibility to include teachers. 

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"We can not delay full in-person learning any longer. Our children can not wait until fall. The costs are simply too high," the governor said at the time. "Georgians deserve to return to normal as soon as possible, and that will not happen without school doors open for face-to-face instruction each and every day."

Almost all Georgia districts are offering at least some in-person classes. With classrooms in Clarke, Clay, Dooly, DeKalb and Quitman counties reopening for face-to-face students in March, only a few districts including Sumter Counties won’t be offering any in-person instruction. However, some other districts are offering in-person classes less than five days a week.

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Georgia has administered over 2.4 million doses, according to state Department of Public Health data. Kemp estimated in February that the new populations made eligible will include at least 1 million more people.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.