EDITOR'S NOTE: A few weeks ago the Hamilton Heights School Corporation’s Classroom Teachers Association (CTA) along with several other Indiana State Teacher’s Association (ISTA)-affiliated teacher groups sent a letter to Gov. Holcomb encouraging him to consider making educators a priority for COVID-19 Vaccination. “HHSC School Board Member Julie Davis, who also taught at Hamilton Heights for over 40 years, is a passionate supporter of our teachers and public education,” said Superintendent Dr. Derek Arrowood, Hamilton Heights School Corporation. “She wanted to provide written evidence of her and the HHSC School Board's support for our educators and those around the state who are working so hard to continue to educate our children during a pandemic. The HHSC Board of School Trustees unanimously approved this letter because they care about educators and appreciate their extraordinary efforts to keep our schools open.”

Dear Governor Holcomb:
The STATE OF INDIANA has answered the question "When can all adults get a vaccine?" as follows:
"The state has announced today that teachers will not be in the next group of Hoosiers eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. The next group will be people over 50 years of age and certain individuals with increased health risks."
The question should be answered as follows:
Teachers and educational staff must be placed next in the queue for COVID-19 vaccinations.
Our teachers, administrators, and support staff have worked tirelessly to develop methods of instruction to meet the needs of their students-academically, socially, and emotionally. In doing so, they have placed their own physical and mental health in jeopardy.
They have sacrificed time with friends and family, and have had to compromise their high standards of instruction. They have adapted to block and hybrid schedules, and have continued teaching in the classroom, where distancing is not always a possibility. They have done all this while also accommodating students who are fully online.
Our Educators are on the front line.
Elementary and Special Needs teachers and their instructional assistants work in very close proximity to their students, assisting and nurturing on a daily basis.
High School and Middle School teachers may work with as many as 120 students per day, as classes rotate through seven or eight periods. The terms "Face to Face" and "Hands on" instruction take on a literal meaning for most teachers.
While it is true that school-age children may be less likely to become infected or display symptoms of the virus, they can be carriers and spread the virus to older adults. Thus, their teachers and all school personnel may be placed at risk.
It has been reported that students are more likely to bring the virus into the school from outside, rather than to transfer it within the school setting. When this occurs, no amount of social distancing or masking up within the school setting can offer protection. But we can offer protection to our teachers and school staff by giving them the opportunity to be vaccinated. If Indiana schools are meant to reopen successfully and safely, it is imperative that teachers and educational staff become the "next in line" to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Sincerely,
Hamilton Heights School Corporation Board of School Trustees
Kevin J. Cavanaugh, President
Douglas V. Ozolins, Vice President
Julie A. Davis, Secretary
Arnett T. Cooper, Member
Gretchen Pennington, Member