‘One step closer:’ SCS teacher hopeful state’s vaccine plan will lead to in-person learning soon

WATCH: ‘One step closer:’ SCS teacher hopeful state’s vaccine plan will lead to in-person learning soon

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Tennessee teachers are next in line for the coronavirus vaccine.

The Tennessee Department of Health announced recently educators have been bumped into phase 1b, behind frontline workers. Teachers were originally in phase two of the state’s four-phase plan.

Shelby County is currently still in the 1a category of vaccinations. It’s unknown when the county will move into the 1b category, which includes teachers.

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FOX13 spoke with a Shelby County Schools teacher who said the quicker it’s given out to educators, the quicker kids can get back into the classrooms.

“Online learning has been a bit challenging,” Shelby Oaks Elementary School teacher Ana-Marie Neal said.

Like all Shelby County Schools educators, she’s been teaching virtually for the past six-plus months.

“It’s really nice to see them virtually and we’re doing the best we can, but it’s not that same as in real life,” Neal said.

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Neal hopes Tennessee’s vaccination plan will allow her to see her students in-person soon.

“I think with the vaccine being available to us, it’s just one step closer to leading us back into the building and everyone to feel safe to do so,” she said.

Last week, the school district sent out a survey to all staff asking if educators are interested in getting the vaccine once it’s available to them. Once they get the final number, it’ll be sent to the health department.

The district says teachers will not be required to get the vaccine, but Neal says she’s ready.

“We want to be with our kids and feel safe doing it,” she said. “We want to make sure we don’t have teachers quitting because they don’t feel safe or retiring early when they still have a lot of good years to put out.”

The Shelby County Health Department recently opened up a new drive-through vaccination site at the Pipkin Building on Tiger Lane. Health department officials said on Monday all appointments have been booked up through the rest of January.

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