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By Ed Sibby

Educators, teacher-leaders, education support professionals, parents, administrators, and elected leaders from San Diego County held a virtual press conference on Feb. 10 and spoke plainly about why they are advocating for immediate vaccination of public school teachers and support personnel in San Diego County.

Top row: Brandi Krepps, CTA staff, Vanessa Barerra, CTA staff. Middle row: Julie Vitale, Kate Bishop, Tiffany Campbell.

Meeting facilitator Brandi Krepps, Escondido Elementary Educators Association vice president, set the tone of the forum by explaining how much educators have sacrificed to ensure students could continue receiving curriculum, “because teachers and students have not stopped teaching and learning during the pandemic.” She has 18 years of middle school teaching experience and is the mother of two boys and the spouse of a first responder who works in National City. While she is proud of having two essential workers in her family, she stated disappointedly, “As a firefighter, he has received a vaccine. But as a teacher, I still have not.”

Speakers included PTA parent Crystal Grobner, whose goal is to see progress toward in-person instruction, and who believes vaccines are key to achieving it.

Krepps and Southwest Teachers Association President Vanessa Barrera explained why vaccines are critical for neighborhood safety, as we remain vigilant and take action to protect our diverse communities with intergenerational households that have been hardest hit during the pandemic.

Chula Vista Elementary school board member Kate Bishop spoke in support of immediate vaccinations as an appropriate safety tool to keep schools open once more educators and support personnel begin the practice of in-person instruction across the county.

Oceanside Unified Superintendent Julie Vitale and San Marcos Unified Interim Superintendent Tiffany Campbell are working in districts already in hybrid teaching. As leaders of their respective districts, their focus is facilitating and enhancing successful face-to-face instruction on their school sites without suffering the yo-yo effect of opening, quarantining, and closing.

See the press conference in its entirety at cta.org/videos/san-diego-educator-vaccine-press-conference.