School districts are making plans after Governor Ned Lamont announced Monday that school personnel will in the next eligible group for the coronavirus vaccine.
The next phase is set to begin on March 1 and will include: Pre-K-12 school staff, teachers, child care providers, bus drivers, custodial staff, food service providers, in-school administration. It will not include employees who do not need to be in a school building, those who are telecommuting or school board members.
"There's a lot of work still to be done to stand up clinics," said Josh Geballe, chief operating officer for the state. "It's going to take the month of March to get through groups, so we'll, we'll start to see some clinics happening next week."
Dr. Verna Ruffin is the superintendent of Waterbury Public Schools and told NBC Connecticut the district's focus is on logistics to ensure it's a simple and safe process.
"I think we're going to need to make certain there's a schedule that everybody knows about," said Ruffin. "We want to make sure there will be additional doses that are going to be available to the city to allow for that to happen in such a way that people feel confident that when it comes to their turn the vaccine is available."
One factor working in favor for the city and the district is prior preparation launched nearly a month ago.
"We first figured out who wanted the vaccine and who was willing to take it and we began getting information to be loaded into the VAMS system," said Adam Rinko, director of emergency management for the city. "We have the capacity the only thing we're waiting on now is the supply."
The new developments about vaccinations and school staff is welcoming news to teacher unions.
"The number one cause for closing schools in Connecticut is teachers and staff having to quarantine and staff shortages," said Donald Williams, executive director of the Connecticut Education Association. "We are hoping that with this vaccine we won't have to worry about teachers and staff quarantining."
The state is expected to release additional information about the vaccine rollout for school staff later this week. In the meantime, state leaders will be working with school districts to ensure they have the necessary resources for the vaccine rollout.
For more information about school staff eligibility, click here.