NEW HAVEN, Ind. (WANE) – Teachers across the country have been advocating that they should be given priority to get the COVID-19 vaccine to speed up the return to normalcy at schools. A couple of announcements Wednesday by the federal government and the state of Indiana is now making that possible.

East Allen County Schools is one of the districts that is wasting little time taking advantage of development. Thursday morning WANE 15’s Briana Brownlee spoke exclusively with EACS superintendent Marilyn Hissong to talk about the district’s efforts.

Hissong said everything has been happening at a fast pace.

After the news broke Wednesday, Hissong said surveys went out to employees asking if they would want to be vaccinated.

According to Hissong, out of 1253 employees, so far there have been roughly 800 responses and around of 510 of those indicating a desire to get the vaccine. She stressed that the vaccine is not mandatory and is strictly voluntary.

“Our staff is excited, I have had an overwhelmingly positive response to a survey we sent out,” said Hissong. “It’s purely voluntary, East Allen is not asking all staff to be vaccinated, it’s a choice. But this, if anything gives them some reassurance that because they have the vaccination, that it’s just another level of precaution, that we can take so that when they’re close to their students and parents or whoever they’re around, they have that other safety measure in place now.”

When it comes to eligibility, any person employed by East Allen County Schools can schedule an appointment; including teachers, administrators, custodians, librarians, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, substitute teachers, just to name a few.

The vaccination effort involves a partnership with Meijer and Superintendent Hissong said she is grateful because all parties came to the table with a problem and left with a solution.

Meijer will have five sites set up for EACS employees. Hissong said that the goal is to localize the clinic sites by community since EACS covers such a large geographic area. The sites are located in the Leo area, Woodland, Paul Harding and New Haven.

Hissong added that the EACS staff has done an incredible job keeping everyone safe during the pandemic.

All teachers in Indiana can now register for a COVID-19 vaccine, but their age will determine where they can get the shot. Educators younger than 50 can register for a vaccine at Meijer, Kroger and Walmart pharmacies. Those are operated with federal funding and are separate from Indiana’s state-sponsored vaccine program which currently limits participants to those 50 and older.