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ISTA: As essential workers, teachers must be prioritized in state’s vaccine plan

With the Indiana State Department of Health’s decision to re-write Indiana’s vaccine plan, ISTA President Keith Gambill issued the following statement:

“We are deeply disappointed to learn about Indiana’s decision to ignore the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) guidance on vaccine allocation by removing teachers as next in line for the COVID-19 vaccine. For months, teachers have put their lives at risk to ensure Hoosier children receive a quality education during the pandemic – all while being told they would be prioritized when the moment came for a vaccine.

While we agree that high-risk health care workers and the most vulnerable Hoosiers should be the first priority, many teachers, such as those teaching special education, cannot do their jobs effectively socially distanced – for the child’s protection and for the educator’s.

Teachers must be prioritized to receive the vaccine. Too many schools are closed. Too many students are falling behind. We need teachers vaccinated and safely teaching in person to best serve students and to move forward with restoring our state’s economy. We are calling on the governor to follow CDC guidance and prioritize teachers in the state’s vaccine plan. And, communicate when the vaccine will be available to teachers. Educators, parents, and students deserve to know when this will occur.”