A joint letter sent to Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb on Monday by Tri-State educators is pressing the Hoosier Governor for access to the COVID-19 vaccine.
The letter, which was sent by education officials in Gibson, Posey, Pike, and Vanderburgh counties, asks Gov. Holcomb and State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box to release a plan by Feb. 17 that prioritizes educators and other school staff for the COVID-19 vaccination.
"We are putting our own health and the health of our families at risk each day we walk into a school building full of children, and we do not have the option to stay home and away from work," the letter addressed to Gov. Holcomb explains.
The letter goes on to state that Holcomb's new classroom requirements for COVID-19 quarantines and contact tracing increases the risk for educators, raising "concern and anxiety further."
Another "extremely concerning" issue addressed in the joint letter sent Monday: the new, more transmissible strains of COVID-19 appearing in the Tri-State, such as the UK variant of the virus that was recently identified by Deaconess.
With all of Indiana's neighboring states vaccinating school personnel, Evansville Teachers Association President Michael Rust says ETA members believe the time for action is past.
"We appreciate local efforts that have allowed some teachers to be vaccinated or added to a wait list, but the state has to have a more comprehensive plan than that,” ETA President Rust said.
While the letter sent Monday stresses the importance of educators receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, its authors note that its goal is not to prioritize teachers and staff in front of high-risk individuals who are already eligible to receive the vaccine.
You can view the full letter sent to Gov. Holcomb Monday below: