SC Senate passes bill to move teachers to the front of the vaccine line

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FILE PHOTO: A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a "Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine" sticker and a medical syringe in front of displayed Pfizer logo in this illustration taken, October 30, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

(Columbia, SC) –  State senators unanimously passed a bill Tuesday that would move teachers, school staff and daycare workers higher up in the state’s vaccine rollout.

The bill would add teachers to Phase 1A, the current phase of eligibility. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control would have to vaccinate teachers and school staff members who want the shot starting 30 days after Gov. Henry McMaster signs the bill into law.

But in return, teachers would need to go back to face-to-face instruction five days per week.

In the state’s rollout plans, teachers are in Phase 1B, but education advocates have been calling for teachers to be moved up.

House members have not yet discussed moving teachers into Phase 1A.

McMaster’s signature would be required for the bill to become law. The governor took to Twitter Tuesday night in response to the Senate’s vote to again express his disapproval of moving educators higher up.

“Seniors are getting vaccinated in greater numbers each day,” McMaster said in a post. “Breaking faith by slowing down, disrupting, cancelling, or delaying any senior’s vaccination shot is a bad idea with deadly consequences. I cannot – and will not – allow their lives to be jeopardized.”

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