COVID-19 vaccine: What’s next for the schools and teachers in Butler County?

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

As thousands of area public and private school teachers await their chance at a coronavirus vaccine, local officials say there has already been an injection of hope among school staffers eager to move closer to the the end of the pandemic.

Earlier this week hundreds of Middletown Schools teachers were the first school employees in Ohio to line up for the shots designed to give them immunity to the coronavirus.

And by the end of today , promises Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, other school teachers and staffers across the state will know when their first of two injections will be scheduled.

“Our goal is try to get every child back in school by March 1,” the governor said during his Thursday briefing.

A Journal-News review of Butler County public school systems shows most will be distributing the vaccine next week.

“The start of school vaccines is such a milestone for education,” said Elizabeth Beadle, spokeswoman for Middletown Schools. “After nearly a year of uncertainty, the vaccine gives us hope for a healthy, stable future.”

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

And private school officials in Middletown – thanks to the city’s health department – are getting ready for their turn at the vaccinations.

Employees at Middletown Christian Schools will receive their first shot on Feb. 3, said officials there.

Badin High School officials said they have been told by Hamilton’s health department vaccines for its nearly 100 teachers and staffers will be given early in February but the exact date is still to be determined, said Dirk Allen, spokesman for the Catholic school.

“That’s a big number of people who have signed up. It obviously reflects the optimism we have in the value of the vaccine and the continuing effort to push through to the other side of the pandemic,” said Allen.

The Ohio Department of Health said the COVID vaccine will be administered to educators who want it in 10 of Ohio’s 88 counties by next week, including Butler county.

Chris Brown, superintendent of the Butler County Educational Services Center (BCESC), which serves all public districts in the county, said the speed at which the county is moving is not by accident.

“I think it was the fact that we work so well with our three (county, Middletown, Hamilton) health commissioners, the Butler County Emergency Management Agency, and our private schools and public districts throughout the county,” said Brown.

“I received a call from the governor’s office … and was asked if we could get this together in 48 hours - I said we can do it in 36.”

“Our public and private school leaders have been instrumental in this process and have really stepped up to take care of their staff on such an abbreviated timeline,” he said.

Among the initial security concerns from some area school officials is the possibility of some members of the public, or former or part-time school employees, showing up for the vaccine.

But Brown said precautions have been put in place.

“These are not open to the public and there will only be enough vaccines present for school staff who have registered.”

“These vaccination locations will be what we call closed pods. Only those individuals who have registered through a secure link will be admitted to the site. And every person who is registered will be required to provide certain secure documents and identification to ensure they are the school personnel who reserved that spot,” he said.

District schedules for vaccinations

Lakota: Feb. 3 for first shot. Feb. 24 for second shot

Fairfield: Feb. 5 and Feb. 26

Hamilton: Feb. 12 and March 12

Middletown: Jan. 27 and Feb. 24

Monroe: Feb. 5 and Feb. 26

Talawanda: Feb. 4 and TBD

Edgewood: Feb. 4 and Feb. 25

Ross: TBD

New Miami: TBD

Madison: Feb. 4 and Feb. 25

Butler Tech: TBD

Mason: TBD

Kings: TBD

Miami University: TBD

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