Some South Carolina teachers frustrated that McMaster won’t bump them up for COVID-19 vaccines

State - Regional

COLUMBIA, S.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) — Some teachers in South Carolina are frustrated as they’re now watching their counterparts across state lines get their shots.

FOX46 Charlotte spoke to several teachers on Wednesday who say they are upset that Governor McMaster hasn’t budged on moving them up on the list.

“Of course, we’re disappointed that here in South Carolina that option isn’t also available to our educators,” said Patrick Kelly with the Palmetto State Teachers Association. “So we’ll continue to advocate and continue to push that hopefully South Carolina teachers can have the same opportunity as teachers in North Carolina, Tennesse and Kentucky and Arkansas and all across the county.”  

Lancaster County School District Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Phipps tells FOX 46 that the district is in constant communication with the governor’s office and state education department about getting teachers and staff vaccinated.

“It looks like a mandate is coming or legally that we have to go back five days a week is the way that’s shaping up. I think that educators including myself would certainly feel better about that if they were vaccinated,” Phipps said.

His school district surveyed the staff about their feelings toward the push to reopen schools.

“What we found was that over 1200 folks that responded to the survey 57 percent of those folks said they didn’t feel comfortable going back to school five days a week until they’re vaccinated,” Phipps said. “When we interviewed or surveyed just the middle and high school teachers and staff, we found that it was 67 percent felt that it wasn’t safe.”

However, one teacher told FOX 46 that although she’s slightly high risk, she feels like she can wait until it’s her turn.

Jessica Chastain, who teaches in Chester County, says she’s okay waiting for the next phase.

“Because there’s a lot of people in our state that need the shot, so I feel comfortable waiting,” Chastain said.

With Chester County now at four days of in person instruction, Chastain, who is slightly high risk, tells me it’s different.

“There is a little concern, you do feel a little bit worried but so far our school and school district are doing the best they can to try to make us as safe as possible,” she said.

Dr. Phipps says he doesn’t mind if his teachers went across the border to receive their vaccine. Chastain doesn’t feel the need to do that.

“I feel like South Carolina was doing okay with getting 1A vaccinated but hopefully we’ll get it here and we won’t have to cross the border,” she said.

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