By Matt Petrillo

GLEN MILLS, Pa. (CBS) — A plan to starting vaccinating Delaware County teachers in February so students can return to the classroom full time in March may have hit a roadblock. It’s all because right now, there are not enough COVID-19 vaccine doses to distribute.

The Garnet Valley School District superintendent is pleading with health officials to prioritize teacher vaccinations, fearing students are falling behind.

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Parents who spoke with Eyewitness News are also anxiously waiting for schools to reopen.

The McInnes family has six kids in three different schools.

Due to the pandemic, the Garnet Valley School District went to a hybrid model. Kids split their week between learning at school and learning at home.

“It’s a piece of cake, it’s a walk in the park,” Dan McInnes said. “No, I’m just playing with you. It’s challenging as you can imagine.”

McInnes’ children are in kindergarten, first, third, fourth, sixth, and eighth grades. He worries that his kids may not be learning the same skills from home they would be in school.

“We’re not even necessarily aware of the ramifications of what this pandemic’s doing for future generations,” McInnes said.

The Garnet Valley School District superintendent says he’s been seeing students struggle throughout the pandemic.

“We’re seeing a new level of struggle with them now,” Superintendent Dr. Marc Bertrando said. “We’re seeing grades starting to decrease, we’re seeing a rise in absenteeism.”

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In a letter sent to parents, Bertrando wrote that he’s been urging state and federal decision-makers to prioritize vaccinating teachers so he could reopen that folks outside of public education are failing to see the damage that is being done to our children.”

“There’s a real crisis going on,” Bertrando said.

But officials say doses are limited.

It’s not clear when those in the 1B category, like teachers, will get vaccinated, and local efforts to make teachers a higher priority have essentially gone nowhere because it’s the Wolf administration that decides who gets vaccinated, according to state Rep. Craig Williams, who represents Chester and Delaware Counties.

“The General Assembly isn’t involved in these decisions. We don’t get any input who belongs in what class,” Williams said.

Until teachers are vaccinated, for now, the Garnet Valley School District is instead requiring employees to have weekly COVID-19 tests.


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