Pressure Mounts To Reopen Schools but Teachers Want Vaccines

The head of the nation's largest teachers union wants "testing, layered mitigation and vaccine prioritization."

Video Transcript

ALEX ARGER: As the nation approaches the one-year mark since most public schools were shut because of the pandemic, the push is on to reopen them completely. Only about 40% of children K through 12 are in classrooms five days a week now, according to the reopening tracker Burbio. The pressure is on from parents and the Biden administration.

ANTHONY FAUCI: The default position is that we should try to do everything we can to get the children back to school safely for the children and safely for the teachers and other educational personnel.

ALEX ARGER: And the faculty the head of the American Federation of Teachers weighed in on Sunday

RANDI WEINGARTEN: My members-- I just did a survey of my membership, and 85% have said that they would be comfortable being in school if they had the kind of testing, layered mitigation [? like-- ?] you know, and vaccine prioritization.

ALEX ARGER: But Fauci said vaccines for teachers should not be a deal stopper.

ANTHONY FAUCI: We're saying we're doing whatever we can to protect the safety of the children and the teachers. But it is not a requirement. It's a priority, but it's not a requirement for the teachers to get back into school.

ALEX ARGER: President Biden has vowed to have most open by late April, the first 100 days of his administration. He wants additional dollars to help schools follow CDC school [? guidelines. ?]

JEN PSAKI: But every school in the country does not have that funding and does not have the resources. And we need to, from our-- from the federal government, help address that.

ALEX ARGER: For Newsy, I'm Alex Arger.