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Ohio K-12 School Employees Begin Getting COVID-19 Vaccines This Week

Student working on a laptop
Polina Zimmerman

Some of Ohio’s K-12 schools will begin vaccinating their employees later this week, with more to come next month.

Gov. Mike DeWine says Cincinnati public school employees will receive their first shots on Thursday, and other districts are scheduled for next week.

“They should know that and should have been notified by now," DeWine said at a press conference Wednesday. "The rest of you who wondered when you will start – you should know by Friday."

Cincinnati Public Schools, which begins transitioning to a blended learning model on February 1, said Monday that they were ahead of other districts with their vaccination plan. The district confirmed that Cincinnati's health department has enough vaccines for all staff members, and a survey of employees found most were interested in getting the shots.

"There were 4,000 people who participated, and the majority of those people say they were interested," said CPS board member Pamela Bowers. "Of course, there was a percentage who wanted more information and there was another percentage who said they were not interested, but overall, the majority of the staff who participated in that survey were interested in getting vaccinated."

DeWine says Ohio doesn't have enough doses for all districts to begin receiving vaccinations this month. However, he said employees in all K-12 schools that agreed to hybrid or in-person learning starting March 1 will get their first shot in February.

“We’re juggling, trying to get enough to [vaccinate school staff] at the same time that we’re trying to move forward on our older Ohioans,” DeWine said. “We’re trying to do two things at once. If we had more vaccine, we wouldn’t be juggling quite as much, but it is what it is.”

DeWine says it's safe for schools to go back to in-person teaching without being fully vaccinated because studies show masks have been far more effective at stopping the spread of COVID-19 than originally thought.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.