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South Bay teachers urge the importance of getting COVID-19 vaccine

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SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) – As Santa Clara County continues to ramp up vaccination efforts, South Bay teachers are stressing the importance of getting the shot, especially those in underserved communities.

Teachers are relieved to be on Santa Clara County’s vaccine priority list and they want to encourage those who are more skeptical about the vaccine to get the shot.

“We have a large Latinx community in San Jose and they just are not just getting vaccinated at the rates of other communities,” Vice President Campbell High School Teachers Association Nick Cortez said.

High school teacher Nick Cortez, along with educators and city leaders held a press conference in San Jose Thursday afternoon, stressing the need to get shots into the arms of those in less affluent neighborhoods.

“They already had the highest infection rates for a long time so we’re really just trying to get the message out that if you’re eligible, get the vaccine, please get it,” Cortez said.

The special education teacher is scheduled to get his first COVID shot Friday and is hoping to lead by example.

He believes getting the COVID-19 vaccine will help reopen schools safely.

“In the high school level, it’s very complicated with students moving from class to class so there’s lots of other logistical sorts of concerns that we have to figure out,” Cortez said.

As for figuring it out, Campbell Union High School District, where Cortez works, may return to in-person learning by the end of the month.

Meanwhile, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo has been pushing to reopen schools, in the city’s largest school district.

The superintendent of San José Unified School District says staff will be returning to class in-person when Santa Clara County moves into the orange tier or if the vaccine is widely available.

Educators who live and work in Santa Clara County are eligible to receive the shot. they need to show credentials or have a letter from their union stating they work in the county.

San Jose Unified School District announced Thursday night that they have secured vaccine opportunities for its entire workforce:

“Within the first four days of education workers being eligible to receive a vaccination, we were
able to secure appointments for all employees that wanted the vaccine,” said San José Unified
Superintendent Nancy Albarrán. “Reaching this milestone in such a short amount of time is
evidence of what is possible when state and local agencies work together towards a common
goal. We are grateful for the support from the State of California and the County of Santa Clara
in prioritizing vaccine access to education workers.”

“We are proud to be a part of the effort to vaccinate the most vulnerable people in our
community,” said Katie Rodriguez, RN and San José Unified’s Manager of Health Programs.
“We have utilized every resource in our efforts to ensure all employees have the opportunity to
receive the vaccine, including those that needed support scheduling an appointment online.”

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