Manchester aims to vaccinate teachers in March

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Skyler Frazer, Journal Inquirer, Manchester, Conn.
·2 min read
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Feb. 23—MANCHESTER — Schools Superintendent Matthew Geary said his goal is to have all educators in town receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in March, following Gov. Ned Lamont's announcement Monday that educators and those over 55 will be next in line for vaccinations.

Geary spoke to the Board of Education on Monday to react to and expand on Lamont's announcement earlier in the day. In a change of plans, governor said Monday that, starting March 1, the state will vaccinate people ages 55-64 and those who work directly with children, including child care workers, bus drivers, and teachers.

Lamont's decision comes as the state has seen a decline in cases recently. Based on recent data from the state, Connecticut has 23.1 new cases per 100,000 people, with Manchester's coming in slightly lower at 22.9. The state's infection rate is under 1%, at 0.8%, and the positive test rate is 3.3%. Capacity in the state's intensive care units has also gone up recently with fewer people hospitalized.

"The good news is that cases are declining," Geary said Monday. "We're moving in the right direction."

Geary said that specific to the schools, Manchester has seen far fewer cases of the novel coronavirus in recent weeks and there has been "minimal intraschool spread" — meaning that most of the cases are people who had been infected outside of school. The district still has about 500 rapid tests for use when someone is experiencing symptoms.

The superintendent said his administration is monitoring the vaccination timeline with the goal to have all educators in town receive the first dose of the vaccine in March, with the second dose a few weeks later.

The town has about 2,000 school-related employees — from teachers to bus drivers to child care providers — so there will need to be an increase in allotted vaccines to the town to meet that goal, he said.

Lamont has said there will be dedicated clinics for educators.

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