Prioritize teachers for vaccinations | Column
A letter to Gov. DeSantis from Tampa Bay thought leaders.
Gov. Ron DeSantis speaking at a news conference earlier this month in Longwood about the ongoing coronavirus vaccination efforts.
Gov. Ron DeSantis speaking at a news conference earlier this month in Longwood about the ongoing coronavirus vaccination efforts. [ The Florida Channel ]
Published Jan. 13, 2021

Dear Gov. DeSantis,

Happy New Year! Thank you for your leadership balancing COVID-19, Florida’s economy, and budget. Florida is making progress on every front.

Here in the Tampa Bay area, a group of community and business leaders convene for lunch each month to discuss topics of interest to the region. Once a year we invite our local (Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco) superintendents to get an update on education issues and ask where we can be helpful. We launched our 2021 lunch series with a briefing from Dr. Mike Grego (Pinellas), Addison Davis (Hillsborough) and Kurt Browning (Pasco) just this past Monday.

One of the areas we discussed was COVID-19 impact on the schools, budget, student, teachers and parents as we all represent many employees in the Tampa/Greater Bay area. We all believe the best place to learn is in the classroom and while the remote teaching has progressed this year, having our teachers and staff feel safe to do what they do for our kids in school and then feel safe in their home life seems to advocate strong consideration for prioritizing teachers in your continued vaccination distribution schedule.

Based on our discussion, we strongly encourage you to prioritize the inoculation of K-12 teachers in the state vaccination plan. We believe that this decision will have a positive impact on the safety and in-person education of our children and will greatly enhance the effectiveness of our workforce. We appreciate that you are making the best decisions based on vaccine availability and impacted audience needs. We know you will make the best decision for all of Florida in this evolving distribution process.

Please know this interested business leadership group meets for lunch the first Monday of every month and would welcome your participation ANY month. We have been virtual for a while but hope to get back to in-person lunches later this spring/early summer.

Thank you for your consideration of this advocacy and your service to our great state. Wishing you good health every day!



Carlos Alfonso, CEO, Alliant Partners

Lee Arnold, Executive Chair, Collier International Florida

Richard Beard, President/Owner, R.A. Beard & Co

Michael Carrere, CEO (Retired), Lykes Bros. | GP, Carrere Capital, LLP

Gregory Celestan, CEO, Celestar Corporation

John Couris, President/CEO, Tampa General Hospital

Alan Bomstein, CEO, Creative Contractors, Inc.

Thomas L. duPont, Chairman/Publisher, duPont Publishing Inc.

Daniel Doyle Jr., CEO, Dex Imaging

C. Samuel Ellison, Chairman, EWI Construction LLC

Maryann Ferenc, President/Owner of Mise en Place

James L Ferman Jr., CEO/President, Ferman Automotive Management

Damian Fernandez, President, Eckerd College

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