MNEA praises Metro's plan to vaccinate teachers, remains concerned about returning to class

Posted at 6:22 PM, Feb 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-09 19:22:22-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The President of the Metro Nashville Education Association is praising the city's plan to accelerate the vaccination of Davidson County teachers. "I’m grateful this has been moved up," said Amanda Kail.

After weeks of saying that teachers will receive the COVID vaccine "soon," we finally know how soon city leaders mean. February 20 will be the first day Nashville teachers will receive the Pfizer vaccine.

Read More: City, health officials announce vaccinations for teachers, staff beginning Feb. 20

"Staff will be receiving an email with instructions on how to register and the system that will be used to schedule appointments," said Adrienne Battle, MNPS Director of Schools Monday during a news conference.

Initial priority will be given to in-person teachers but all staff and virtual instructors will eventually get vaccinated at Vanderbilt University's health clinic at 100 Oaks.

Battle told reporters that the clinic will be open seven days a week and will feature hours that extend beyond the school day so that it will be easier for teachers to get to their appointment.

But MNEA President Amanda Kail says this doesn't alleviate all of their concerns. "If educators cannot be vaccinated before they’re in buildings, then we need to have social distancing and updated ventilation systems, neither of which we have in Metro," said Kail.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper is proposing nearly $70 million for repairs at 45 different MNPS schools but that will also take time. Kail says, there's something the district could do even sooner.

"We just quite simply need more teachers. If we have more teachers we can have smaller class sizes which again would be something that would help our district even if there wasn’t a pandemic going on," said Kail.

MNPS teachers that traveled to outlying counties for their first dose must return to the same county for their second dose and may not merge into the Vanderbilt program.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center released the following statement to NewsChannel 5:

“In accordance with Tennessee Department of Health guidelines, we will be vaccinating the teachers and staff with Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS). Vanderbilt University Medical Center is proud to provide this service to these frontline educators who are integral to the future of our community. We will be communicating directly with the appropriate MNPS staff regarding the vaccination process.”

Other private schools, daycare and pre-school staff will receive their vaccines at a TriStar Health facility.