‘Teachers again are overlooked and abandoned’: Local legislator calls on Holcomb to vaccinate teachers next

Wabash Valley COVID-19 updates

State Representative Tonya Pfaff issued a statement of support for Hoosier teachers Wednesday afternoon.

INDIANAPOLIS State Rep. Tonya Pfaff (D-Terre Haute) Thursday sent a letter to Gov. Eric Holcomb urging him to make teachers next in line to be vaccinated.

“We should respect their work and what they risk each day to carry out their mission to students and families, and equip them with the vaccine so they can finally feel considered and safe, Pfaff said.

Twenty-eight states, including Indiana’s surrounding states, have expanded vaccines to teachers as a key component to safely re-opening schools, she noted.

“While workers in healthcare, law enforcement and licensed social workers are rightfully deemed as frontline workers and prioritized in vaccine distribution, teachers in Indiana are again overlooked and abandoned, to be frank,” Pfaff said. “After nearly a year of tremendous sacrifice, loss and anxiety, teachers have adhered to their duty and should be prioritized in receiving vaccines. 

Read the full letter below:

Dear Governor Holcomb,

As a member of the House Committee on Education and as a public school teacher myself, I am concerned by the state’s vaccine rollout and lack of prioritizing vaccinations for teachers. At the time of this writing 28 states, including our Midwestern neighbors, have expanded vaccines to teachers as a key component to safely re-opening schools. And while workers in healthcare, law enforcement, and licensed social workers are rightfully deemed as frontline workers and prioritized in vaccine distribution, teachers in Indiana are again overlooked and abandoned, to be frank. 

Scores of educators across the state are on the frontlines in schools every day working with a young population that is least at risk for serious illness, while the teachers are often at moderate to high risk. I personally work with educators who despite their age, preexisting conditions, and classrooms that can scarcely accommodate sufficient social distancing, come to school to educate the children of our community. After nearly a year of tremendous sacrifice, loss and anxiety, teachers have adhered to their duty and should be prioritized in receiving vaccines. 

Additionally, vaccinating teachers lays a foundation for safely re-opening our schools, which is necessary for the well-being of students. E-learning has shown that students generally need and desire the classroom environment and interaction with their peers and teachers to thrive. Vaccinating educators is crucial to getting our kids back into the settings and activities that make school effective and worthwhile. 

I urge you to pay special attention to teachers. See their work and what they risk each day to carry out their mission to students and families, and equip them with the vaccine so they can finally feel considered and safe.

Sincerely, 

Tonya Pfaff

State Representative

House District 43

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