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Hamilton Co. superintendents wonder why their teachers left off Ohio’s first vaccine list

David Winter & Stephanie Kuzydym, WKRC |

On Tuesday, DeWine released his list of schools that are set to begin vaccinations this week. Only one Hamilton County school district is on the list: Cincinnati Public Schools. Local 12 Investigates reached out to all Ohio superintendents in our area to see why their schools didn’t make the list. About 20% responded.

One superintendent said: “I am very interested in knowing how and/or why CPS was moved to the front of the line. I have a number of staff members asking me the same question.”

Another said: “It is frustrating to see that Cincinnati Public Schools staff has now somehow “moved to the front of the line” for access to the COVID-19 vaccine…they are also moving to the front of the line ahead of those that they serve within the community.”

Northwest Local Schools Superintendent Todd Bowling says he’s not clear why his teachers are not yet on the list to get vaccinated. In fact, he used the term “in the dark” three separate times in 10 minutes while discussing the Ohio Department of Health and Ohio Department of Education’s K-12 Staff Vaccination Program.

“We have poverty,” Bowling said. “We have ESL students. We have African-American students. We have Latino students, so we meet pretty much every box you need to check. Knowing that our folks have been in person since day one, are contracting COVID because of being in person, it was disappointing to not be first in line to get the vaccination because they had the most exposure,” Bowling said.

Meanwhile, most Butler County schools are on the list, so Local 12 Investigates asked Hamilton County Commissioner Denise Driehaus why only CPS made the list in Hamilton County. “This is a decision being made by the governor, and I don’t know the rationale behind the decision,” Driehaus said. “I’m on a call every other week with the governor lobbying for what we know is working in Hamilton County.”

Greg Kestermen with the Hamilton County Health Department said when the vaccine is distributed to teachers around the county, it will be through a variety of partnerships, including private pharmacies and health care partnerships.

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