Re: “COVID-19 vaccine line has Washington teachers near front, students in back. What’s that mean for reopening schools?” [Dec. 19, Education Lab]:
Headlines such as these are misleading. Having served for 20 years as a school social worker, I would like to remind everyone that while teachers are, of course, indispensable, so are all the other staff members crucial to opening schools. Please remember Educational Staff Associate (ESA) certificated staff such as occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech-language pathologists, school psychologists, nurses, counselors and social workers. Schools cannot function without dedicated associate staff such as front desk; bus drivers; custodians; classroom, library and health-room assistants; and lunch and recess managers. School administrators certainly need to be prioritized as well.
I think the general public may not realize how much of a tight little “village” every school needs to be in order to fully serve our children. Let’s recognize everyone!
Ann Loveitt Pulkkinen, MSW, ESA school social worker, Seattle