Ensuring Safe In-Person Learning
Throughout the pandemic, ISTA members have raised their voices to ensure safe school settings during COVID-19. ISTA members advocated to prioritize K - 12 educators for vaccines early in the state's vaccine plan, and now, educators have access to COVID-19 booster shots. Unfortunately, the pandemic has not relented, and additional steps need to be taken to ensure the safety of kids and educators while prioritizing in-person learning. ISTA members will continue to advocate for health and safety measures in our schools.
Gov. Eric Holcomb announced in March 2021 that he expects all Indiana K - 12 schools to return to in-person instruction for the 2021 - 22 school year.
Our top priority is to keep our students and educators safely learning in their classrooms, and we have the tools to make that possible. Vaccination is crucial, but it’s imperfect. Masking is crucial, but it’s not foolproof. COVID-19 testing is not going to catch every case. To keep schools open for in-person education, we have to use every tool at our disposal. Below, we've outlined updates on the tools available for educators, students and families to make in-person learning as safe as possible.
We can control the proven safety measures needed to keep schools open. What we cannot control is the sheer number of educators that are now sick from the rapid rise of Omicron. It’s important to recognize that many schools and districts are dealing with critical shortages in staff – whether due to positive COVID-19 cases, necessary quarantine protocols and restrictions, and/or inability to fill positions.
Educators know how important it is to remain flexible in responding to unprecedented and rapidly changing circumstances – we have shown up every day the past two years, adapting and innovating the ways we teach and interact with our students. Educators are always showing up for their students – but we need the support and safety measures to do what we love most.
Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Approved for Kids Ages 12 - 17
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends kids ages 12 - 17 receive a booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech five months after their initial vaccination series.
Vaccines Approved for Kids 5 and Older
The CDC approved Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for 5-11 year olds. Find vaccination sites through the state's vaccine hub. Review the CDC recommendations on the approved COVID-19 vaccines and boosters for kids.
Get Your Vaccination (or Booster) Today
To ensure students and educators are safe for in-person learning, it is important to get educators and eligible students safely vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved COVID-19 booster shots for educators. Sign up for your vaccination today!
The Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) continues to release updated COVID-19 guidance for school administrators, teachers, parents and caregivers. Review the latest information from IDOH to keep kids, educators and families healthy.
In-Person Learning Guidance
In late July, the CDC issued new guidance for in-person learning.
"Given new evidence on the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant, CDC has updated the guidance for fully vaccinated people. CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place."
Access Vaccines for Students
With the increased availability of vaccines and boosters, we're encouraging parents of eligible students to get them vaccinated and boosted.
- It's safe and effective. The three vaccines currently being administered in the U.S. have passed the Food and Drug Administration's rigorous standards for safety and effectiveness. To date, millions of people have been safely and effectively vaccinated against COVID-19. Review the CDC recommendations on the approved COVID-19 vaccines and boosters for kids.
- Vaccines are widely available. To find a vaccination site near you, text your ZIP code to 438829, call 1-800-232-0233, check out this interactive map or visit Indiana's vaccine hub.
- It's free. Like most childhood vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccine is free — either through insurance coverage or a federal program administered by a local government or community clinic. The CDC provides a portal for locating a free vaccination site near you.
- It's convenient. Most students will be able get their first COVID-19 dose at the same time as their other back-to-school vaccinations. Some school district continue to host on-site vaccination clinics - check with your local school corporation.
In short, getting all kids vaccinated and boosted, when eligible, is the best way to ensure that schools are able to open safely — and stay open!
Learn more at Made to Save.
Are Vaccines Safe?
Millions of people age 5 and above have safely received vaccines. Learn more about the rigorous testing vaccines undergo in order to be approved for use.
How Effective Are Vaccines?
Every day, as more vaccines are administered, there's mounting evidence that the vaccines protect people against COVID-19, including severe illness.
Know Before You Go
How to prepare for your vaccination appointment. Find out what to expect, what to bring, and more.
Health and Safety in Schools
The CDC continues to evaluate and release guidance for returning to in-person instruction. Bookmark the link below for the latest information.