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UFF, university faculty calling for vaccines for higher education teachers

Published: Mar. 5, 2021 at 6:28 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A Florida teachers union is calling on the state to revisit their COVID-19 vaccine plan to include teachers and staff of colleges and universities.

It’s an issue they’ve been fighting for for months.

The United Faculty of Florida is asking Governor DeSantis to allow teachers of all ages and education levels to be included in the vaccine plans.

They say their members have gone above and beyond during the pandemic and they should be prioritized too.

Monday, Gov. DeSantis announced that teachers K-12, law enforcement and firefighters over 50-years-old are now able to get their turn in getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

But, one group not included in that list: college and university faculty and staff.

Candi Churchill is the executive director of UFF.

“Leaving higher education faculty and personnel out of the vaccine prioritization was kind of an insult on top of many insults,” said Churchill. Faculty has risen to the occasion, moved their courses virtually overnight.”

She says the union is worried about their members’ health as college settings tend to spread COVID-19 at a higher rate.

“We need to help as many people as possible get vaccinated and in the college setting, we have students and a population that is spreading the virus faster than in K-12,” said Churchill.

Adela Ghadmimi is a graduate assistant instructor at florida state…and a member of united faculty of florida.

Although she teaches remotely, she says some of her colleaguess still come face to face with many college students on a daily basis.

“Especially in lab settings and having to teach in person still with upwards of 40 students at a time and then still interacting and interfacing with other students throughout the day as well,” explained Ghadmimi.

UFF says the CDC recommends that higher education personnel also be prioritized for the vaccine, and they hope Gov. DeSantis will make them a priority before it’s too late.

Ghadmimi added, “I obviously think if one person is nervous about, it we all should be nervous about it and we should be taking action to make sure that nobody has to feel at risk for just having to keep their job and do their job every day.”

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