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Indiana educators 'ecstatic' to finally be on vaccine list

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Posted at 6:27 PM, Mar 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-15 05:30:07-04

BATESVILLE, Ind. — Teachers in Indiana will be eligible to get their COVID-19 shot at any state vaccination site starting today, after two full months of being left off the list for immunization.

“It’s a good day in history,” said Batesville Community School Corporation superintendent Paul Ketcham, who pushed hard for their inclusion. “It’s a good day in Indiana. It’s a good day in our schools.”

Batesville returned to in-person classes in August 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic was six months in. Daily diagnosis totals in Indiana were ticking upward from several hundred a day to the other side of 1,000. Other districts across the Tri-State were considering a reversion to remote learning — if they’d started in-person lessons at all.

FROM FEBRUARY: Ohio, Kentucky have started vaccinating teachers, but educators aren't in Indiana's plan at all

Ketcham knew it was a big ask, putting his workers back inside a school building in that climate. They answered it by showing up. Some, including high school biology teacher Katie Hartman, were scared when they did.

"I was apprehensive about coming back into a building that had a good number of people,” she said Thursday.

As soon as vaccines were approved by the Food and Drug Administration, Ketcham called loudly and often for his staff’s inclusion in the state’s vaccine plan.

"I just thought as professionals they stepped up in the best interest of children,” he said. “They've had a constant burden in the back of their mind about the vaccine. … I feel obligated to advocate for our staff because they've worked through this pandemic without hesitation."

Gov. Eric Holcomb’s Wednesday announcement that they finally made the cut — not just at select pharmacies, as they had the week before, but everywhere — took some of that burden away.

"I was ecstatic,” Hartman said. “It's something that we've been waiting for. It's just a general sense of relief, knowing that there's going to be a chance to get back to normal and do the things that we enjoy doing."

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Senior Reporter Larry Seward is focusing his reporting on the COVID-19 vaccine to bring you answers and information. Contact Larry at 513-667-4804 or larry.seward@wcpo.com.