Education secretary Gavin Williamson has been urged to prioritise vaccinations for educators by the President of the Board of Deputies.
Writing to the government minister on Tuesday, community leader Marie van der Zyl said teachers and school staff “deserve to have a safe environment in which to work” amid surging cases of coronavirus.
This comes amid a third national lockdown in which all pupils in England – except children of key workers and vulnerable pupils – have moved to remote education until mid-February amid school closures.
Saying “Education is at the cornerstone of our Jewish community” and “Jewish schools are central to our communal life”, van der Zyl said “there is a strong economic argument for prioritising reopening of schools when virus transmission levels allow.
“For many parents with young children, it also verges on impossible to work at home whilst ensuring their children are continuing with learning.”
She said: “the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) note in their advice published on December 30th that after phase 1 of the vaccine programme, the next phase could prioritise ‘those delivering key public services’.” She said school staff “most definitely fall into this category” and for “staff in all school settings to be prioritised” for a jab in the next phase.
This comes after Williamson provoked anger among school leaders and teachers after he told parents last week that they could report schools to Ofsted if they were unhappy with their child’s remote learning offer during the lockdown. This led to a flurry of 11,000 emails from parents praising online learning efforts by schools.
More than 80,000 Brits have died due to the coronavirus during the pandemic, with almost 2 million fatalities worldwide.
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