PERRYSBURG — The school district plans on including support staff on the list of those getting the coronavirus vaccine with teachers.
“We have to come up with a plan that is going to be very flexible. Wood County doesn’t know how many doses we will have until they arrive,” Superintendent Tom Hosler said. “You think about the staff that might have a role with coaching or other activities where they are working with kids, we’ve included all of those folks as well.”
Hosler laid out some of the many issues related to administering the vaccine during the board of education working group meeting Monday night.
He said that includes approximately 750 people across the district. That does not include students.
Gov. Mike DeWine has said that the goal is to have vaccinations for teachers to be done by March 1 with students back in class. However, the Tier 1A group, first responders, nursing home residents and staff, has to be finished first. Feb. 1 is the date the district is expected to get the vaccine, but the governor said he is hoping for mid-January.
Among the challenges that Hosler said the district will face is educating teachers and staff, who will not be required to get the vaccine.
There will be a survey of staff, for planning purposes, to find out who intends to get the vaccine.
“If the only thing you read is on social media, then we probably have our work cut out for us,” Hosler said.
The Ohio Education Association teachers union president has encouraged teachers to get vaccinated and the district is doing the same.
The school administration is going to meet with Wood County Health Department officials to coordinate the planning, but there are some current expectations.
Right now they believe that the vaccine will come in lots of 50 to 75 dosages, so they will be prioritizing the order of who gets it. The expectation is that the prioritization will be determined for all the districts within the county. One possible way Hosler said they are considering is through age bands, with those aged 55-65 getting it first.
Another possibility is based on job role and its relation to the spread, he said.
Hosler said that the coronavirus is being spread by sports teams, but added, “In the last month there was so much spread of COVID it’s hard to pinpoint where it came from.”
The vaccine requires two doses. Part of the process is a 15-minute monitoring period following the dose.
The district may also work with Mercy Health Care and volunteers who have a medical background, Hosler said.
Results of the preliminary study that DeWine used to change quarantine requirements were also discussed on Monday.
“Moving forward, students and teachers exposed to a COVID-positive person in school are no longer required to quarantine as long as the exposure occurred in a classroom setting and all students/teachers were wearing masks and following other appropriate protocols,” Hosler said.
Hosler called the change a quarantine reset.
He also said that there are a number of caveats and the basis for the change is preliminary results from a study of nine schools and only seven did testing.
“What are the distancing protocols? There are a lot of disclaimers throughout this report,” Hosler said.
Board President Ray Pohlman, who was a math teacher, had his own reservations about the study.
“The sound bites say one thing, but the data shows another,” Pohlman said. “If you look at seven out of 611 school districts, that’s 0.1% they got some information from. That’s 0.1% of the schools in Ohio. Again, the report’s not complete until the end of January, and there’s more information to come.”
In the first semester 170 students and 74 employees had positive COVID-19 tests in Perrysburg. Hosler said that 36% of the students had been quarantined, which is 1,935 students. There were also 158 employees quarantined.
Hosler repeatedly stated, “Not all employee and student quarantines are a result of school exposure.”