Staff members at Cincinnati Public Schools will begin receiving vaccinations on Thursday.
Staff members will be separated into multiple groups for vaccinations, corresponding with the phase-in dates for blended learning. Group A will consist of teachers and paraprofessionals from pre-K through third grade, as well as teachers in specialized classrooms.
Board Member Pamela Bowers said the district has been working with Gov. Mike DeWine's office for weeks, focusing on Phase 1B of the state's vaccination plan.
"We're ahead of other districts in our state with being ready to roll out a plan for the vaccine," Bowers said.
Staff will receive the Pfizer vaccine, which will be administered in two separate shots 21 days apart. If a staff member gets vaccinated on Jan. 28, then they would be able to receive the vaccine on Feb. 18. That is 17 days after the first day of the blended learning transition for the first phase and three days after the second phase.
Vaccinations will be provided by the Cincinnati Health Department.
Bowers said the Cincinnati Health Department has confirmed that they have enough vaccines to get all staff members vaccinated. A survey conducted by CPS staff members says most are interested in getting the vaccine.
"There were 4,000 people who participated, and the majority of those people say they were interested," Bowers said. "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."
At least 600 staff members who took the survey said they did not want to get the vaccine. CPS will begin transitioning to blended learning on Feb. 1.
Walnut Hills will be included in blended learning this semester despite the social distancing issues classrooms there have. The CDC recommends six feet of social distancing, but classes will be held with three feet of social distancing. Dr. Robert Kahn is with the Cincinnati Children's Hospital.
"Six feet or more is safer than three to six feet," Kahn said. "Three to six feet is safer than less than three feet, so it's a continuum and there are papers out there that will show that curve. I always say 'safer' or 'less safe.' There's no such thing as safe. We're in a pandemic."
Dr. Maryse Amin with the Cincinnati Health Department says that six feet is the safer route, and that's what the department recommends.
Group A consists of:
- Teachers and paraprofessionals in preschool, kindergarten and grades 1-3
- Teachers and paraprofessionals in specialized classrooms from preschool through 12th grade
- Paraprofessionals one-to-one
- Nap aides
- Related service providers
- Custodians and building engineers
Group B will include all other school-based employees. Group C will include employees based at the Education Center and Iowa Street, bus drivers, and CPS employees who missed the first two weeks and want to be vaccinated.
On Thursday, Jan. 28, and Friday, Jan. 29, Group A will receive their first vaccination at Mt. Airy School from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. There will also be Group A vaccinations scheduled on Saturday, Jan. 30, at the Duke Energy Convention Center from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For employees scheduled to come to the Duke Energy Center, the Cincinnati Health Department is working with the city to make parking available. Details will follow soon.
The Cincinnati Health Department is in charge of operating the vaccination sites.