INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Coalition for Public Education joined Indiana State Teachers Association in asking state health officials and Governor Holcomb to make teachers a priority when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines.
"That vaccine has not come for us and I feel like there's a lot of confusion and frustration," Kristin McMurtrey, Northwest Indiana Coalition for Public Education Chair, said. Along with being a teacher, she's a mom of two boys who've been impacted by the pandemic.
"Both have been quarantined in turn because of a close contact at school," McMurtrey said.
McMurtrey and Keri Miksza, Chair for Monroe County's Coalition for Public Education, tell WRTV they want our state to listen to the federal government.
"The CDC issued guidelines. Treat teachers as essential workers. Our organizations believe Indiana should follow those guidelines," Miksza said. "It'll show that the state values what they do and values their safety."
All of the states surrounding Indiana are vaccinating or plan to vaccinate their teachers soon. McMurtrey lives close to the Illinois state line and know fellow teachers who live and work there.
"Sometimes, folks from Illinois kind of look to their friends to the east and wonder what our state's priorities are and it's hard to give them an answer," McMurtrey said. "Ultimately, what we want is that in person, safe experience for every single child who chooses that. We want to make sure we're giving our families everything we possibly can to make that environment for them."
Teachers were prioritized in Indiana's original vaccination plan, but that was changed to focus on people at risk because of their age. However, the CDC recommends teachers and grocery store workers be prioritized over those between the ages of 65 and 75. There's no word from state health officials when teachers will be able to get vaccinated.