A teacher and students practice social distancing to help curb the spread of the coronavirus in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on Monday. AP
The United Nations agency for education, UNESCO, on Monday called on governments to give teachers priority access to the new COVID-19 vaccines and be treated like “frontline” workers.
The call came as the United States, the country worst hit by the virus, kickstarted the biggest vaccination drive in its history by giving the jab to a nurse in New York.
“As we see positive developments regarding vaccination we believe that teachers and education support personnel must be considered a priority group,” UNESCO chief Audrey Azoulay said in a joint video message with the head of the Education International (EI) teachers’ organisation, David Edwards.
A healthcare worker collects a blood sample from a teacher at a school in Baghdad. Reuters
Azoulay and Edwards said when schools and other education facilities were closed to prevent the spread of the virus, “teachers and support personnel remained on the frontline.”
As classes moved online they “reinvented the way we teach, we learn,” they said, adding that when schools reopened, teachers returned “courageously” to the classroom.
Stressing that schools are “irreplaceable” Paris-based UNESCO and Brussels-based EI called for teachers to be among the first in line to be inoculated.
A nurse in New York became the first person in the US to be vaccinated when she received the Pfizer-BioNTech shot live on television.
This sparked some confusion — while an advisory panel recommended emergency use approval for Moderna's vaccine on Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to give the final verdict allowing distribution — expected later on Friday.
In a recent survey, people who said social distancing and COVID-safety guidelines violated their personal freedoms responded more positively to these ideas when they felt a loved one might be at risk of severe illness.
Kemp, Raffensperger and their aides are working quietly with Republican legislators to craft changes to absentee and early voting they believe can strike a balance. That may mean jettisoning or at least relaxing some of the proposals circulating in the Republican-run General Assembly,
Officials had warned that waves could reach three metres (10 feet) above high tide levels after the quakes - the strongest a magnitude 8.1 - but the threat had passed by the afternoon, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said.
The state of emergency, which is a non-binding request, centers around asking restaurants, bars and other businesses to voluntarily close at 8pm. Japan has never had a mandatory lockdown, but has managed to keep infections relatively low with social distancing and such voluntary measures.
US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the UN Security Council that “the Assad regime has tried to avoid accountability by obstructing independent investigations and undermining the role and work of the OPCW,” the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons