The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia will help the city's health department administer COVID-19 vaccines to teachers and school staff.
City officials announced the partnership between CHOP and the Department of Public Health on Monday. The vaccination effort will begin in late February and take place in pop-up clinics located in school buildings throughout Philadelphia, according to the city’s press release. Teachers and staff from district, charter, parochial, and independent schools will be included in the vaccination.
Child care centers and pre-K providers, as well as classroom aides and cafeteria workers, will also be included.
Last month, Philadelphia School District Superintendent William Hite Jr. announced that pre-K through second-grade students will be able to return to in-person instruction for two days a week beginning Feb. 22. Currently, only students whose families signed up for in-person instruction in the fall will be able to return.
Some educators have expressed concerns about returning to in-person instruction without access to the vaccine. Teachers were scheduled to report to schools on Monday to prepare for the reopening, however, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, a union for educators in Philadelphia, instructed union teachers to stay home out of concern that district buildings are unsafe.
The district eventually reversed its decision for teachers to report to schools on Monday due to opposition.
Mayor Jim Kenney expressed hope that the partnership between CHOP and the city health department will quicken a return to in-person learning for district students.
“This vaccination program will go a long way to easing the concerns that teachers have expressed.” Kenney wrote in the press release. “It is imperative that our children get back to in-person learning, and every Philadelphian should be thankful that CHOP is able to offer its resources and expertise for this crucial effort.”