Zionsville Community Schools Supt. Scott Robison has voiced his support for Indiana teachers, saying they should be granted COVID-19 vaccine eligibility.
“I understand what the age-level protocol is; however, I can volunteer to work at one of the sessions for vaccinating people, and I can get a vaccine,” Robison said. “Or, I can drop food off at someone’s house for a food pantry, which is a really important thing to do, and get vaccinated. But, yet, if I’m standing among 150 kids every day as a teacher, way more interactions with way more families sending their kids in, it would seem teachers and other support staff who work with kids would be at the front of the line.”
But in Indiana, teachers are not yet eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Residents 65 and older, health care workers, long-term care staff and residents and emergency responders are the only groups currently eligible.
The federal government has allowed states to determine which of its residents should first be given vaccinations. Indiana is prioritizing its oldest residents, which state health officials say will prevent the most deaths and hospitalizations. State officials have said limited vaccine doses limits eligibility.
Other states have already begun vaccinating teachers or have immediate plans to do so. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed “those who work in the education sector” among the groups it recommended prioritizing in Phase 1b, along with other front-line essential workers and people 75 and older. In Phase 1a, the CDC recommended vaccinating health care professionals and long-term care residents first. Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said the state is still in Phase 1b of its vaccination plan.
“I’ve been advocating for (teachers and school staff being vaccinated),” Robison said. “Our local health authorities have been great in accepting my comments about it. I’m hoping teachers and other support staff get moved up in the line.”
Robison joins the Indiana State Teachers Association and superintendents and teachers across the state in advocating for educators to be vaccinated.