AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) – The debate continues to move teachers up in South Carolina’s coronavirus vaccine distribution plan but many people are demanding for those at the top to take action.
“Everything comes from the top and that’s where we have a failure of leadership in the governor, Henry McMaster right now, and our Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman,” said Kevin Ayers.
Right now, South Carolina is in Phase 1a of their vaccine distribution plan.
“I’ve become extremely frustrated with the lack of leadership and just the lack of progress,” said state Senator Shane Massey.
Ayers said, “They have proved time and time again since March that rather than being pro-education, that they would do everything they can to undermine education.”
Many advocates for moving teachers from Phase 1b to Phase 1a of the vaccine distribution line say it would ensure all students can return to in-person classes five days a week.
SC for ED representative and Aiken County history teacher Kevin Ayers tells us administrators in his school district are doing the best they can to make the return happen.
He explained, “Teachers want to be in the classroom. They don’t want to be hybrid. We have great virtual programs that have emerged out of this which has been a positive thing but for many students, they need that classroom instruction day-to-day.”
“There’s no way you can justify jumping most teachers at the head of the line or even in the existing pool unless you’re going to make them go back in person and that’s an important part of this legislation,” said Massey.
Earlier this week, the House Medical Affairs subcommittee debated the proposal to move teachers, but questions still linger. The bipartisan bill was passed unanimously by the state Senate on February 9, but Governor McMaster is not too keen on the idea.
“There would be enough vaccines for the state to take care of its teachers. Just as it with others, I believe it can do that very easily,” asserted Ayers.
Massey added, “If you don’t vaccinate them, you’re still going to be stuck with quarantines. So still even if you make them go back to school, you’re likely going to be faced with not being able to staff the classroom.”
The House subcommittee will discuss the teacher vaccine proposal again next week.