CINCINNATI (Enquirer) - Teachers and staff at Cincinnati Public Schools began receiving vaccinations Thursday ahead of the district’s return to in-person learning, which begins next week, according to our media partners at the Enquirer.
The district employs about 6,500 full- and part-time employees who serve about 36,000 students, according to the district’s website. On Monday the district said about 600 employees who answered a survey about the vaccine said they would not get the vaccine.
“As a leader in the Cincinnati community, I cannot ask our staff to step forward and be vaccinated if I am not willing to do the same, especially knowing the hesitancy that some people feel about the vaccine,” said CPS Superintendent Laura Mitchell. “It was personally important for me to be here today to demonstrate my belief that this vaccine is not only safe, but is the way we move forward.”
Mitchell was among the first district employees to be vaccinated, alongside Mount Airy School principal Angel Roddy, Covedale Elementary School kindergarten teacher Consuelo Esteves and John P. Parker Elementary School building engineer Lanier Hardy.
“We are super excited today,” Roddy said. “Feeling relief, feeling gratitude that we’re able to be vaccinated so that we can bring our kids back.”
CPS students pre-K through the third grade and specialized classrooms will start a blended learning model next week. The district will bring the rest of its students back to hybrid learning in phases: grades 4-6 and 9-12 will return the week of Feb. 15 and grades 7-8 will return the week of March 1.
The blended model follows an A/B structure where half of the students will be in-person Tuesday and Wednesday and the other half will be in-person Thursday and Friday, officials said. Specialized classrooms and preschoolers will receive in-person instruction Tuesday through Friday.
Esteves will return to Covedale Elementary with her students next week. She says she has been worried about some personal underlying medical conditions, but feels grateful to have received the first dose of the vaccine.
“I feel safer,” she said. “You know, ultimately, I wish that we could have, all teachers could have both doses before going back. But I am happy that the governor’s at least letting us get our vaccines now.”
District spokesperson Fran Russ said she isn’t sure how many employees are scheduled to receive the vaccine, although about 3,000 employees who answered the district’s survey said they would get the vaccine. Employees will be inoculated at Mount Airy School Thursday and Friday and at Duke Energy on Saturday.
“The pandemic may not be over, but the arrival of the vaccine brings hope for our staff, our students, our neighborhoods and our community,” Mitchell said.
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