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CMS teachers want to be a priority when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine

As CMS prepared to head back to the classroom, teachers are pushing to make them a priority no matter their age.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — CMS leaders said Friday afternoon that the in-person return dates set by the board remain in place.

Elementary and K-8 students will return to the classroom on Feb. 15. Middle and high school students will not returns until Feb. 22. 

Meanwhile, teachers say they want to be a priority when it comes to the vaccine. Novant and CMS are now teaming up to take care of school staff and get teachers 65 years or older vaccinated over the weekend. 

Meanwhile, teachers of a certain age have been able to get vaccinated most are way down the list. 

"This push to rush back to in-person when we have a vaccine right around the corner, it seems like it's poorly timed," CMS Teacher, Justin Parmenter said.

RELATED: When will children be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Students are falling behind and teachers are exhausted and struggling too. 

"It's been a hard year for all of us, not just for educators but for parents for children,"  Parmenter said. 

Parmenter wants to get back in front of his kids but he doesn't want to get sick. The vaccine could be the remedy allowing greater safety in schools. 

"If we can invite staff to receive the vaccination then we're going to get more quickly to herd immunity, where there's less virus circulating around us," CMS School Health Specialist, Monica Adamian said. 

As CMS prepared to head back to the classroom, teachers are pushing to make them a priority no matter their age.

"I think it makes sense to prioritize people who are at higher risk but at the same time we need to remember that we've had educators die in North Carolina this year who were in their 40's, healthy," Parmenter said. 

CMS leaders say getting more shots into employees' arms could help students and teachers return to quality in-person learning, but when all teachers will actually get those vaccines, it's still unclear.

"We don't want to jump over any other group that is currently above us, so that is not our intent or desire but we do want to continue to advocate and for all our student faced staff members, to get the vaccine," CMS Superintendent Earnest Winston said.

RELATED: Schools can safely reopen without vaccinating teachers, CDC says

Meanwhile, some Union County Public School employees already got the shot. The school worked with the health department to develop a plan to vaccinate school employees who are 50 years or older. The state approving the vaccination for about 1,000 employees who signed up before they made changes to the roll-out plan. 

High school teacher, Jennifer Comer has empathy for her colleagues that may not be able to get the shot for a while.

"I wish that everyone that wanted to vaccine could get it now... obviously I'm very lucky to be a recipient since I am over 50," Union County Public Schools teacher, Jennifer Comer said.

UCPS employees who got the vaccine two weeks ago will get their second dose next week, Feb. 12-13.