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Rep. Bourdeaux urges President Biden to include teachers as essential workers for early vaccinations

Bourdeaux says that while the CDC recommends prioritizing teachers and school workers, states like Georgia have not followed this guidance.

ATLANTA — US Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Ga.), is urging President Joe Biden to prioritize vaccinating public educators and school district staff as he makes revisions to his COVID-19 response plan

In a letter to the president from Bourdeaux, she mentioned some of the challenges local school districts in Georgia have faced, including increasing coronavirus transmission rates and teachers getting sick or dying as a result of COVID-19. 

She points out that the CDC's Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices recommended that essential workers, including teachers and school workers, be prioritized for vaccinations. 

However, Bourdeaux said, states like Georgia have not followed these guidelines, in spite of urging schools to remain open for in-person instruction.

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"In the 7th District, the COVID-19 safety standards as well as their enforcement varies significantly by school district — and even from school to school within a district," Bourdeaux's letter said, in part. "As a result, we have heard from many teachers and support staff who are afraid because they have been asked to put their health and lives on the line, and risk the health and lives of their families, to keep their jobs."

In her letter, Bourdeaux pointed out that the guidance from the White House should also include clear guidelines regarding mask use and safe practices in school facilities.

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"I urge your administration to prioritize the vaccination of teachers and school support staff, as well as the development of clear guidelines for testing and contact tracing at schools," her letter continued. "We also need clear federal guidelines strongly encouraging the use of  masks on school property, safe building design, and safe practices in the school building and classroom."

Bourdeaux represents Georgia's 7th District, which includes portions of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties.