The CDC announced its recommendations for vaccine rollout for Phase 1a, 1b and 1c. Each state will adopt their own guidelines.
Phase 1b has several sub groups, including teachers. With the Governor announcing she wants schools opened by February 15th, she is signaling that teachers will be among the first subgroups vaccinated in Phase 1b.
Brown said in her letter that it is her hope that more Oregon schools, especially at the elementary school level, will transition to in-person learning by Feb. 15, 2021.
The decision on re-opening will be up to each school district, rather than the State.
Update: 1 day later, the Governor has removed restrictions on church services, changing earlier mandates to “guidance”.
Realistically, several officials have said Phase 1a will not be completed until likely sometime in February. Then Phase 1b will get underway. The February 15th date may be optimistic – for one thing, it will take 10-15 days for the first dose to confer about 50% immunity levels. However, the Governor is clearly signaling that Oregon plans to move teachers to the head of the line.
Some teachers (for valid reasons) have resisted in person teaching. Others have criticized this noting that grocery store and retail workers did not have such options. Regardless, the availability of vaccinations gets teachers back in the class room, hopefully begins to restore the lost year of education kids have suffered, and enables a number of parents to get back to work too.
Look for this policy change to occur in other states too.