The City of Evanston is hoping to vaccinate Evanston Township High School teachers who are involved in the school’s upcoming “in-person experiences,” although there is no way those COVID-19 vaccinations will occur before the “experiences” begin next week.

In a memo to ETHS staff, Yolanda Hardy, the school’s assistant human resources chief, says the City has asked District 202 for a list of those taking part in the “in-person experiences,” as well as those who are otherwise working in the building on a daily basis.

Hardy says the City is “prioritizing the limited vaccine distribution” for in-school staff. As more vaccines become available, she says, “others who ae offering remote learning will subsequently be vaccinated.”

While ETHS classes will still be taught remotely due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, a variety of in-person arts, sports, and enrichment activities for students begin at the high school on Tuesday. Student and teacher participation is voluntary. Numbers have not been released yet on how many students and staff will be taking part, although most activities will be in small group pods, with social distancing and other mitigation in place for all “experiences.”

Educators are in Illinois vaccination category 1(b), along with other essential workers such as first responders, transit employees, and grocery store workers. Individuals over age 65 are in 1(b) as well. 1(b) vaccinations are under way, but due to limited supply, Evanston is only in the 74-plus age range as the City works backwards chronologically.

This memo only deals with which educators will be vaccinated in what priority, and does not suggest in any way that teachers will go ahead of other essential category 1(b) workers.

In an email to Evanston Now, District 202 spokesperson Takumi Iseda says ETHS has been consistently working with the City to determine “when and how vaccines can be distributed to priority groups in Evanston, including educators. These efforts,” she says, “align with the district’s plans for in-person experiences for ETHS students.”

The Human Relations memo to ETHS’ 600 staff members says, “We have not yet been told when we will get the vaccine, where they will take place, or how many doses they will have.” That information will be provided once it becomes known.

Hardy also encourages the staff to “seek out other avenues for getting vaccinated” due to the limited supply and uncertainty of when the shots will be given.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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