Ohio still weeks away from making vaccine available to next group, Gov. DeWine says

Gov. DeWine gives update on COVID-19 vaccines, response

COLUMBUS, Ohio (FOX19) - The COVID-19 vaccine is still a few weeks away from being available to Ohioans younger the 65, Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday.

In the current phase, residents ages 65 and older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Ohio will not lower the eligible age for the vaccine for a few more weeks, the governor said.

“We know we’ll be sitting at 65 for a few weeks,” Gov. DeWine said.

The governor said they cannot move onto younger age groups because it is taking time to get vaccines to those currently eligible.

Along with those 65 and older, the vaccine is available for people with severe congenital or developmental disorders.

Gov. DeWine did say on Tuesday that, possibly starting next week, the vaccine could become available to more people with different types of disabilities. He said more details about that possibility will be announced later this week.

[ COVID-19 vaccine: When you can get it, how to sign up, and where to get it ]

K-12 school employees, who want to remain or return to in-person learning, are also eligible for the vaccine.

Ohio is in the second week of vaccinating school staff employees.

More than 1,300 schools will have had their staff vaccinated by the end of this week, Gov. DeWine said.

There has been “great progress” in working toward the goal of having schools back to in-person learning by March 1, he said.

As of Tuesday, less than 15% of Ohio students are still attending classes completely online. That is a big difference from the 45% of students who were learning fully remote in December.

Getting students back into the classroom, as the governor explained, will go a long way in bettering their education.

While students have not been in the classroom, Gov. DeWine says some students have fallen behind.

The state schools superintendent said Tuesday testing and attendance was way down during the pandemic. Among third-graders, the state had 8% lower numbers of students scoring “proficient or better,” the superintendent explained.

“This once-in-a-lifetime pandemic has impacted all of us, so it should be no surprise that it has impacted our children,” said Governor DeWine. “But we should not panic, nor should we be surprised by the results of assessments.”

To help those who have fallen behind, the governor is asking schools to develop a student success plan by April 1.

These plans could include adding days to the school calendar, longer days, or even summer classes, he said. Gov. DeWine said the plan should be whatever districts think will work best for students.

To help schools cover the costs of making up for the pandemic learning loss, Gov. DeWine says $2B will become available.

Ohio’s COVID-19 Numbers

Of the state’s four COVID-19 key indicators, only the amount of new deaths was above the 21-day average, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

The ODH’s data shows 98 more people died from COVID-19 in the past day. This brings Ohio’s total number of deaths from the virus to 11,793.

New cases, hospitalizations, and ICU admissions were all under the recent averages.

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