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Akron Schools To Begin COVID-19 Vaccinations With Limited Supply

90% of Akron Schools staff wants to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, according to district spokesman Mark Williamson. [Akron Public Schools]
Akron Public Schools headquarters

The Akron Public School district along with other school districts in Summit County are scheduled to receive the COVID-19 vaccine this week for teachers and staff. However, Akron Schools will only receive enough vaccine for about a quarter of the staff who want it.

The district was notified by the state that it will receive 780 doses this week, according to Akron Schools spokesman Mark Williamson, who added there are roughly 3,000 staffers who need two doses of the vaccine. District officials are determining who will be the first among the staff to receive the first dose.

Governor Mike DeWine prioritized K-12 teachers and staff in the vaccine distribution line with the goal of getting students back in the classroom full time or as part of a hybrid model by March 1.

 “You know, we're not going to hit March 1st, though, for getting everybody back to school,” said Williamson, “because there's, I don't see any way that's going to happen.”

He said Governor DeWine understands that shortages will have an impact on a district’s ability to open classrooms in some capacity and is being flexible with a start date.  

“We don't really want to start without our teachers having both shots, said Williamson. “That’s kind of something we've talked about. But again, this changes every day.”

The district will do the “most we can with what we have,” according to Williamson who added, the district is “still looking at March” to open schools for students who want to return to in-person instruction.

“You know, our compliance rate is pretty close to 90 percent,” said Williamson. “I'm just glad to see that we have that, where it feels like we're close to getting kids back in school, even if it's just the last few months.”

Surveys conducted by the district have shown that even after staff have been vaccinated, about half of the student population will opt to continue learning remotely through this academic year.

Jenny Hamel is the host of the “Sound of Ideas.”