Scott 2 Board of Education approves resolution to urge state to prioritize teachers, support staff for vaccine
Teachers, staff begin signing up online for vaccine through federal pharmacy programs
The Scott County School District 2 Board of Education approved a resolution on Feb. 24 to urge Gov. Eric Holcomb to prioritize teachers and support staff to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. While the states bordering Indiana have prioritized teachers for the COVID-19 vaccine and provided shots for educators who live and work in those states, the Indiana State Department of Health has not provided a timeline for when educators will receive their doses.
“The most vulnerable and direct-line/direct contact health care workers of any kind, first-responders, etc., should get the option to get the vaccine first. Then, I’d like to see teachers given the choice to get it next if they want,” said Nena Elam, a fifth-grade teacher at Scottsburg Elementary School.
Despite the choice the state made regarding which groups would receive prioritization of the vaccine, President Joe Biden announced on March 2 that teachers and staff can start to receive the vaccine at the pharmacies that the federal government provides the vaccine to even if the state does not recognize teachers and school staff as a priority.
“Today, I am directing every state to prioritize educators for vaccination. We want every educator, school staff member, and child-care worker to receive at least one shot by the end of this month,” Biden said in a tweet on March 2. “It’s time to treat in-person learning like the essential service that it is.”
Now, Indiana teachers can sign up at Kroger, Walmart, CVS, Walgreens and Meijer to schedule their appointment to receive their doses of the vaccine.
“The number of positive cases among staff would suggest that we’re pretty susceptible to the virus,” math teacher Matt McGlothin said.
Indiana rolled out COVID-19 vaccine priority listings by age instead of following the U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommendation to prioritize teachers and other essential workers for the vaccine after first responders, long-term care residents and health care workers. Last week, the state chose to follow the CDC guidelines to allow smokers and obese individuals to join the waitlist for the vaccine but not to prioritize essential workers, such as teachers and school staff members.
In August 2020, former Vice-President Mike Pence — and former governor of Indiana — declared teachers as “critical infrastructure workers,” the same label used for doctors and law enforcement workers in hopes to encourage schools nationwide to reopen for in-person learning. Many Indiana schools, including Scott County School District 2, opened for in-person learning for the 2020-2021 school year. Teachers remain subject to the same kind of advisories as doctors and law enforcement, yet doctors, school nurses and school resource officers can get the vaccine but teachers cannot.
“I think teachers should be vaccinated ASAP. Since many schools have been offering in-person classes, teachers should have been closer to the front of the vaccination line. If not, we should have stayed virtual until teachers could be vaccinated to help protect teachers, students, and their families.” said Shelby Boley, language arts teacher at Scottsburg Middle School.