Herefordshire Council Cabinet Members have asked the Government to prioritise COVID-19 vaccinations for education workers.

As a result of growing concerns around staff safety and continuity of education, the council has asked the Government to recognise education staff as front line workers in need of urgent protection from coronavirus (COVID-19).

Cllr Felicity Norman, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said:

“Herefordshire’s schools and colleges have continued to deliver education both face-to-face or online throughout the constant changing demands of the pandemic. We fully recognise the valuable contribution of all of education workers in keeping our teaching services running and helping Herefordshire children to continue with their education and we feel that their safety is a priority. We hope to see all teachers and non-teaching staff included in the COVID-19 vaccination programme in the near future.”

Cllr Pauline Crockett, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Wellbeing, added:

“Herefordshire is in a good position to deliver vaccinations initially to those that need it the most. Schools have implemented COVID secure measures and worked hard to prevent transmission in school settings. We feel very strongly that school, college and nursery staff should be vaccinated as soon as possible and we will continue to campaign for this to happen.”

Alex Davies, Executive Headteacher of Burghill Community Academy and Stretton Sugwas C.E. Academy, said:

“We recognise that school staff are worried for their own safety and that of their families.  A vaccination for teachers would support children returning to school, once transmission rates allow and give greater confidence and reassurance to teaching staff, to parents and carers and children.

“Learning at home can’t be compared to learning in a classroom and school life is more than just education. We are concerned about pupils’ mental health and happiness while working from home and isolated from their friends and school community.  The Government should be doing everything in their power to protect teaching and education staff, and provide a safe environment for ongoing learning.”

Vaccinations for education workers will not only mean a level of added protection for staff themselves and their families, it will also mean that there will be less impact on children’s education with a more resilient education workforce.

Leader of the Council, Cllr David Hitchiner, has written to the Secretary of State, Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP, to request the prioritisation of COVID-19 vaccinations for school, college and nursery staff in Herefordshire.