Teachers and staff members in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, plus those who work at 13 schools in the Cleveland Catholic Diocese and a number of local charter schools, will receive their first dose of the Coronavirus vaccine this week and next.
CMSD CEO Eric Gordon told members of Cleveland City Council's Health and Human Services Committee Monday morning that Tuesday through Saturday, teachers and staffers will be given paid time off to get the vaccine at either East Technical High School on the east side or Max Hayes on the West Side. It will be free for them to do so. Gordon said he was scheduled to receive the vaccine himself at a kickoff event Tuesday morning at East Tech.
Gordon said that CMSD employees who receive both doses of the vaccine by April 3 will be given one extra personal day next year, in keeping with recommendations to incentivize vaccinations.
Though he could not say conclusively, Gordon said that if the vaccine distribution goes according to plan over the next two weeks, in-person learning could begin at CMSD in early April, after the conclusion of the district's Spring break. He cited internal survey data which showed that roughly 50 percent of CMSD families do not wish to return to in-person instruction and said that hybrid learning models will still be offered.
Gordon extended his gratitude to city officials who have helped CMSD navigate the logistics of the vaccination planning process and said that CMSD was "very well-prepared" for the next two weeks. They are working to build awareness and momentum around the effort in traditional and social media.
The council committee hearing was the latest in what are now weekly updates about the City of Cleveland's vaccination efforts. Cleveland's Director of Public Health, Brian Kimball, recounted how the city stood up a mobile vaccination operation at Zelma George Recreation Center over the weekend, where Mayor Frank Jackson was vaccinated. He said the city will administer vaccines to local seniors at Gunning Recreation Center on the west side this coming weekend. As of today, Ohioans 65 and older are eligible to receive the vaccine.
Kimball estimated that 2,000 doses of the vaccine were administered last week. This week, he anticipated close to 4,000 first doses would be administered, with the inclusion of the K-12 educators alongside seniors. He also said that approximately 1,300 people in the 1A vaccination group would receive their second dose at Cleveland Public Auditorium.
Tracy Martin-Thompson, who oversees the health department as the Chief of Prevention, Intervention and Opportunity for Youth and Young Adults, estimated that a further 300 seniors will be vaccinated this week at sites selected by the state of Ohio's regional rapid response assistance program.
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