SCIOTO — Teachers and staff are anxiously awaiting to get back into the classroom after Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, announced that his goal was to get teachers and students back in the classroom’s by March 1.
Governor DeWine announced Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021, that vaccinations will be offered beginning the week of Feb. 1 to schoolteachers and employees in districts willing to commit to in-person classes for students beginning March 1.
DeWine said this is being done to get students back in the classroom and in order to do that schools will be asked to sign a commitment that if a school receives a shipment of the vaccine they will return students to in-person or hybrid learning.
“We are sending forms to be signed by superintendents. We are asking them to agree to go back to full in-person or hybrid learning by March 1. That is a condition of getting the vaccine,” said DeWine.
The state will be asking schools to send the number of staff they believe will choose to take the vaccination and indicate if they are already working with local partners for vaccine administration. A district’s agreement with the state to receive vaccines is not binding, though. As of Jan. 19, 1,669 districts and schools have committed to returning to hybrid or in-person education delivery models. This includes 583 school districts and 915 nonpublic and community schools. According to the plan, 70% of schools will be back in class using hybrid or fully in-person education delivery models.
“What the Governor charged the ESC’s with was to provide him with information regarding partners with each district,” Sandy Mers, The South Central Educational Service Center Superintendent said. “My take on it, was to help alleviate congestion so the health department could focus on nonschool employees, like the elderly. What we had to do was contact each district and match them up with partners in our area, it had to be approved vaccination administrators, CVS, Walgreens, Fitzgerald Pharmacy (Adams Co.) and Scioto Advantage. Some of our districts have already established a plan.”
Mers shared the Portsmouth Health Department is taking care of Portsmouth City and Scioto County Developmental Disabilities groups, with some going to multiple vendors in the area. Mers said they were told that once they submitted the information that those partners would be reaching out to districts. They are supposed to start getting vaccinations Feb. 1 and it could be different in each county.
Mers said that Scioto County Schools are already doing what the Governor has planned as they are all at least doing the hybrid models. As for the possibility of getting back to full attendance, Mers said, “What each district does is they will monitor in their district and they are trying to get as much as possible. They monitor daily and will adjust as much as they can.”
Mers stated she works together with the local Superintendents every Friday that they are a great group of people all working to help each other. Mers said that their goal is to be back fully as soon as they are able.
“The goal is to get back as soon as we can, the sooner the better. Both the Scioto County and Portsmouth Health Departments have been great to work with and we appreciate their partnership. We are glad to be able to help alleviate their congestion,” Mers said.
OEA (Ohio Education Association) President Scott DiMauro said vaccines will be instrumental in allowing schools to open for in-person learning across the state.
“We are grateful to Governor DeWine for listening to the concerns of the state’s educators, who have been nothing short of heroic in their efforts to reach and teach Ohio’s students through extremely difficult circumstances, often being forced to put their own safety and that of their families and communities on the line,”DiMauro said in a release.
OEA represents more than 121,000 teachers, faculty members and support professionals who work in Ohio’s schools, colleges, and universities to help improve public education and the lives of Ohio’s children.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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