The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, January 06, 2021 1:00 am

No vaccine timeline for teachers

FWCS superintendent says they're essential workers

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Superintendent Mark Daniel didn't have an encouraging answer Tuesday for a Facebook user wanting to know whether there is a plan for Fort Wayne Community Schools teachers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

He said he and other superintendents asked about the same topic during a meeting Monday with Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Matthew Sutter.

The state is driving decisions about vaccination priorities, and teachers aren't at the top of the list, Daniel said during his monthly Facebook Live update.

“I would have loved to have our teachers be immunized because, to me, they're essential workers,” Daniel said.

People eligible to schedule a vaccination appointment include first responders, coroners, funeral directors and health care workers, according to the state's website.

Much of Daniel's hourlong Facebook session focused on issues related to the pandemic, including remote learning expectations, students' social-emotional health, second semester plans and the importance of students and staff staying home when sick.

“We will continue to ensure we're providing the safest situation we possibly can, both in our classrooms and in our co-curricular activities,” Daniel said.

Second semester began Monday.

Daniel acknowledged that following public health guidelines isn't foolproof.

“I was doing my best to be safe, and I had COVID, and it stuck with me for quite a while,” Daniel said.

The monthly chat wasn't exclusively about the coronavirus. Daniel also provided a broad update on efforts to bolster programs supporting students' post-graduation plans. The state's graduation pathway requirements begin with the class of 2023 – the current sophomores.

“We're already needing to do this,” Daniel said. “We just need to scale it for everyone.”

Without going into detail, Daniel spoke about partnering with others in the community, including businesses and colleges, to create pipelines for in-demand career fields in and around Fort Wayne.

Course recommendations would complement those career pathways, he said.

As early as eighth grade, students should have a meaningful plan for life after high school, Daniel said. This might include joining the military or the workforce or pursuing additional training or education, he said.

FWCS can then help students select curriculum supporting those goals, Daniel said.

“I like to say we are part of that dream, and we are dream makers, we're not dream killers,” Daniel said. “Let's create these possibilities for kids.”

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