HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The state is preparing to enter Phase 1B of the vaccination plan. Education leaders say this next tier of vaccinations will allow kids to get back into the classroom.

This tier would include people age 75 and older, frontline essential workers in education and childcare, as well as grocery workers and transportation. People in congregate settings like homeless shelters and prisons will also be allowed to make an appointment for their vaccine. 

RELATED: State officials say providers now able to begin filling COVID-19 vaccine appointments for those in Phase 1B age 75+

News 8 talked with Jeff Leake, president of Connecticut’s Education Association on what this would mean to get educators vaccinated so soon: “That would be fantastic and we could get those kids back into school where they belong.” 

Leake continues, “I think the fact that they would be able to be vaccinated will bring a level of comfort and bring down the stress level and get them back to what they do best, which is work with our kids and make sure they’re learning in the best way possible.” 

Having educators and school staff vaccinated would be a relief, though schools would still follow COVID-19 guidelines including mask wearing and social distancing for added safety. 

Leake says having educators included in tier 1B is a good idea because it focuses on the push to get students back to normal and back in the classroom learning hands-on: “Clearly, right now our educators are anxious to get back in as close proximity as possible with their kids. They know it’s going to work a whole lot better than remote, hybrid, etc.” 

So far, an estimated 800,000 people in Connecticut fall under the next tier of the state’s vaccination plan.