Barb Wasinger: Give teachers priority for COVID-19 vaccinations

Staff Writer
Hays Daily News
Barb Wasinger

For Kansas frontline workers the news is good. The COVID vaccine is here and judged to be 94% effective. It is critical for the Governor of Kansas to prioritize who will be first to receive the vaccine. Clearly our healthcare workers and our vulnerable nursing home residents need to be on the top of the list. However, our teachers are also on the frontline and must be included in this crucial step. The cost to our school children is clear.

Our children are the future of Kansas and must be in school. While remote learning works for a small segment of students, the majority of students are failing miserably to adapt to this online world. It is essential that the teachers are protected, which will mean the students physical and mental health and their educational well-being will be cared for. Having children sit at home in front of computers is clearly a problem: The National Institutes of Health study found that a 3-hour period of uninterrupted sitting causes a 33% reduction in vascular function in young girls. Mental health related visits for children under 17 have increased from 24% to 31%. Obesity rates have risen to almost 15% of all children which also points to the danger of kids sitting in front of computers. The frightening statistics make it clear that It is essential that our teachers need to be protected to keep them working in the schools; thereby securing students physical, mental health, and educational well-being.

The State of Kansas needs to place our teachers on the frontline list to have the opportunity to get the vaccine. Our children and all of Kansas are counting on it.

Barb Wasinger

State Representative, 111th District