TN teachers, parents urge governor to give vaccines before reopening schools

TENNESSEE — Teachers, parents and community leaders urged Tennessee Governor Bill Lee to provide vaccines to educators before re-opening schools.

During a news conference, several community leaders criticized Lee saying he is not doing what’s best for teachers.

RELATED: SCS Superintendent won’t provide reopening date after decision to delay again

“We will not have it any other way,” said Marcina Egedegbe; a parent within SCS.

Marcina Egedegbe is a parent of children in Shelby County Schools.  Ededegbe joined educators and community leaders during a candid conversation about bringing students and teachers back into the classrooms safely.

“Put the children first and prioritize vaccinations for our teachers,” she said.

“Shelby County Schools’ ventilation systems are not up to par, we can’t properly space students and make other CDC requirements,” said Danette Stokes, President of United Education Association.

Last week, Lee called for Shelby County Schools to reopen in two weeks.  Educators argued that African American students will be at a greater risk of getting sick if teachers are not vaccinated.

RELATED: Union agrees with SCS decision to delay in-person learning, president says

“Now the most recent push is to force educators back into the classroom, which would primarily hurt Shelby County and Davidson County, where vaccines are not yet available for educators,” said Stokes.

Shelby County Commissioner Eddie Jones joined the conversation with one of the county’s teachers union, the United Education Association. Jones said he’s in favor of Superintendent Joris Ray’s decision to delay in-person learning and wants the governor to act quickly.

“Commission is urging the governor to support reopening in a safe manner,” he said.

Lee recently said: “You can’t say follow the science and keep schools closed. You can’t say I believe in public education and keep schools closed and you can’t say you are putting the needs of students first and keep schools closed.”