Alissa Widman Neese, The Columbus Dispatch |
To prepare for the rollout, area school leaders are doing what’s necessary to save their employees a spot in line — including committing to in-person learning in some form by March 1. The state required districts to submit a signed form by Monday agreeing to do so, regardless of how many employees receive the vaccine before that date.
Critics of the state’s plans have noted that, regardless of the approach, school employees still won’t be able to achieve the full immunity offered by vaccinations by the state’s required March 1 date to restart in-person classes. Both vaccines currently available, from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, require two doses, administered 21 days or 28 days apart, respectively. The vaccines often don’t take full effect for a week or two after that.
Scott DiMauro, president of the Ohio Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, called the date arbitrary.
“While we agree that vaccination of school employees is critically needed in allowing the return to in-person instruction, it was apparent from the get-go that date was unfair and unrealistic,” DiMauro said in an email.
The Ohio 8, a group representing the state’s largest urban districts, released a statement last week asking Gov. Mike DeWine that schools not be forced to return to in-person classes until all employees who want to be vaccinated have full immunity.
“We respectfully request a more flexible approach,” it said.