School officials today announced a program in partnership with Johns Hopkins Medicine to vaccinate 9,000-10,000 Baltimore teachers and staff beginning this week.
Employees currently working at in-person learning and meal sites will be prioritized, CEO Sonja Santelises said.
Dr. Gabor D. Kelen, director of emergency medicine at Hopkins, applauded the effort between Hopkins, City Schools, the mayor’s office and the Baltimore Health Department, saying the parties worked on Friday and through the weekend to set up the vaccination program.
They “put the pedal to the metal,” said Kelen, noting that schools have a “huge impact” on bringing some “normalcy back to society.”
Around 5,000 employees have been identified for the first wave of vaccinations. They will include teachers, meal service workers, custodians and administrative personnel. Another 4,000-5,000 people will follow.
Kelen noted that vaccinating 500 employees a week over 20 weeks, or through mid-June, is “not a particularly strong timeline.”
He said Hopkins has requested more vaccinations from state partners to speed up the process.
Hopkins will provide notices to school employees and appointment scheduling through its website. School employees will have a choice of more than one vaccination site, Kelen said.
To speed up the timeline, Hopkins is requesting more vaccinations.
Around 100 employees signed up online to receive vaccinations within the first 30 minutes of receiving their notifications today, Santelises said.
Teachers received email notification over the weekend that they would have to return to the classroom.
Since then, many have questioned why they were being asked to return to school buildings before they had received shots that could protect them from Covid-19.
The Baltimore Teachers Union (BTU) has opposed reopening some grades next month, saying school buildings are not yet safe. Santelises said in-person learning must resume to prevent student “learning loss.”
The school vaccination program is not connected to the health department’s vaccination program, whose appointments are already booked through the end of January.