Maryland teachers could be vaccinated by end of January

Posted at 5:19 PM, Jan 06, 2021

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — Yesterday, Governor Larry Hogan announced new groups were added into the first phase of vaccine distribution: all Marylanders over age 75, high risk inmates and teachers and childcare.

"I want to be there forming those bonds and connections," said Baltimore City high school English teacher Patrice Pilgrim.

In a 5 minute conversation with Pilgrim, you can tell how much she loves her job.

"I want to be sitting on a desk after school sharing Slim Jims with a student explaining an essay assignment. I want that," said Pilgrim.

As a hands-on teacher, virtual learning has been very hard for her, but it’s her only option because her two children and her sister have pre-existing conditions that make them high risk for severe complications if they contract COVID-19.

"I am not willing to risk my life, the lives of my family members, just to do a job. Yes it’s a passion. I feel it’s my calling but it is still a job," said Pilgrim.

A job that is now included in Phase 1B of Hogan’s vaccination plan. Hogan announced the change, less than a month after the state superintendent requested prioritization for teachers, school staff and child care workers.

"The Maryland State Department of Education has already begun, but they are going to continue to immediately begin coordination with all of our county school systems to prepare the implementation of their plans to vaccine this critical personnel," said Hogan.

Based on the current rate of allocation, Hogan anticipates moving into Phase 1B by the end of this month.

"I want to get it but if me getting it translates into a push by the district to say, 'Well you got the vaccine and you can go back to school,' then no," said Pilgrim.

She said she won’t feel comfortable back in the classroom until her family can get vaccinated too because it’s not yet know if vaccinated people can still transmit the virus. She said lots of her colleagues feel this way too.

"If I'm the only one that’s safe, that doesn’t make sense," said Pilgrim.

MSDE said their vaccination plan are under development.