HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Governor Wolf and the COVID-19 Vaccine Joint Task Force held a press conference to announce a plan to help protect school communities and get more students back into classrooms by vaccinating teachers and other school staff.
Pennsylvania will use the newly-authorized Johnson & Johnson vaccine for teachers and other school staff due to the vaccine’s need for only a single dose to be fully vaccinated.
“This new single-dose vaccine adds another layer of support to get students and teachers back in the classroom,” Gov. Wolf said. “Teachers and staff who work with our children will be vaccinated, and I commend the task force and all of our partners for their tremendous commitment to their schools and communities.”
Pennsylvania will receive 94,600 doses of the J&J vaccine this week.
To quickly get the vaccine into educators’ arms, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and the departments of Education and Health are partnering with the 28 Intermediate Units (IUs) to establish vaccine sites. The Pennsylvania National Guard and AMI Expeditionary Healthcare (AMI) will administer the vaccine. Philadelphia operates its own separate vaccine distribution. The vaccination of educators is separate from the ongoing Phase 1A vaccine rollout, which continues at an accelerated pace.
Each IU region will have at least one vaccination location with most locations starting vaccinations between March 10 and 13. Eligible school staff will receive information about vaccine locations and registration instructions. The vaccine is voluntary.
The departments of Health and Education also updated recommendations to school leaders for offering instruction based on the level of community transmission in a county. Full in-person learning is recommended in low level counties, hybrid/blended learning is recommended in moderate counties and hybrid/blended learning is recommended for elementary grades and full remote learning for middle and high schools in substantial counties. Schools must continue to practice mitigation strategies, including face coverings, physical distancing and hand hygiene regardless of the county’s transmission level.