PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As the coronavirus continues to spread, there is growing momentum locally for mandating vaccinations for school teachers and staff. This comes as there are a growing number of children being infected with COVID-19.
With school about to start, safety is a top priority. A big announcement is expected for New Jersey on Monday, and that’s the day Philadelphia teachers go back to school.READ MORE: 'Most Egregious Story I've Ever Heard': Local Man Has Prostate Removed After Mistaken Cancer Diagnosis
“Everyone will be required to wear a mask,” Philadelphia School District Superintendent Dr. William Hite said.
The Philadelphia school board has scheduled a special session for Tuesday, Aug. 24, to vote on a mandate to require staff to be vaccinated.
“The decision has not been made yet on whether we will mandate them for all staff,” Hite said. “However, I am strongly a proponent of mandating for all staff.”
Hite said negotiations are underway with unions. The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers has already expressed support for a vaccine mandate, and in New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy will reportedly announce on Monday a requirement that teachers in his state also be vaccinated.
It’s considered an important safety measure since children under age 12 can’t be vaccinated and many teenagers haven’t been vaccinated, leading to a new COVID trend.READ MORE: One Of Last Marines To Leave Afghanistan Returns Home To Hero's Welcome In Ridley Township
“We’re seeing far more young people affected by this virus requiring hospitalization,” Dr. Danny Branstetter said.
There are now a record number of younger people hospitalized with COVID. The biggest increase is people between the ages of 30 and 39 and kids under 18 years old.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the numbers are more than 30% higher than their previous peak in early January.
“The virus is drawing a distinction between those who have been vaccinated and are unvaccinated,” Branstetter said.
But only about half of the population is fully vaccinated, and there’s still no vaccine for kids under 12.
“COVID-19 vaccine reviews are the top priority for the FDA,” U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said. “It’s possible that we may have vaccines for under 12 before the end of the calendar year.”MORE NEWS: WATCH: Surveillance Video Catches Olney Drive-By Shooting That Killed 1, Injured 5
Doctors say until there is a vaccine for children, they should be wearing masks in school.