PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As they prepare for the new school year starting Aug. 31, Philadelphia School District teachers are wondering if they will need to be vaccinated to lead their classrooms.

Teachers return to school Monday in preparation for the new school year, something they are all eager to welcome. Many teachers are thrilled to see their students’ faces in their doorway at the end of the month. Others, craving a semblance of normalcy.

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“I’m looking forward to being back in my classroom,” Charlotte McCracken told CBS3.

The importance of teacher vaccination status remains up in the air.

Eyewitness News asked Philadelphia Teachers Union president Jerry Jordan for an update on the plan, which is allegedly still up in the air.

“We have not received any communication from the District regarding their intent,” Jordan told CBS3, adding, “The fact that we have very clearly shared our support for a negotiated mandate and yet the District has yet to formally ask for one is simply absurd. The clock is ticking.”

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The term “simply absurd” was echoed by teachers as well.

“The fact that pre-k through 6th or 7th graders aren’t eligible to be vaccinated — that’s a huge number of our students that’ll be vulnerable and in the building every day that can’t be vaccinated,” McCracken said.

Priscilla Lo is with Philadelphia For Open Schools, a grassroots parent advocacy group. She said she wants teachers to be vaccinated if they can be.

“Usually teachers and adults, in general, are the index cases. Oftentimes, they are the ones who will pass on COVID to students,” she said.

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The superintendent of the district has previously supported a vaccine mandate but did not reveal a timeline. When asked for an update, a school district spokesperson said, “The District remains in conversation with our union partners about this matter.”

Wakisha Bailey