This past week, Oklahoma received its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines and frontline health care workers began to receive their shots as part of the first phase of inoculations. Not only have many areas of the state been scrambling to find adequate ICU bed space during the pandemic, but staffing levels have also been a concern. Keeping those frontline doctors, nurses and other health care workers protected must be a priority.
That said, I was very pleased by Governor Stitt’s announcement that K-12 teachers would be moved up to phase two in the state’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan. While many schools have pivoted to online learning during the pandemic, we know this has been an extremely difficult situation for students, parents and teachers. Making sure teachers can receive vaccines sooner will help Oklahoma schools return to in-person instruction. In addition, the State Department of Health will continue to offer schools access to testing to provide frequent monitoring for COVID-19.
Here at the Capitol, preparations for the upcoming legislative session are in full swing. Members are working with staff to finalize language for bills they plan to file by the Jan. 21 deadline. We’ll have an organizational day on Jan. 5 to elect our leadership for the 58th Legislature, then the session will resume on Feb. 1.
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