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Akron Public Schools to Begin Vaccinating Staff Next Week

photo of Akron Public Schools headquarters
Akron Public Schools
Akron Public Schools will receive and distribute 780 vaccine doses next week through their partnership with Akron Children's Hospital.

Gov. Mike DeWine’s plan to vaccinate teachers in order to get students back in classrooms is getting mixed reviews across the state. For some districts, the March 1 deadline to start in person learning seems impossible, with vaccines not being made available to all by February 1 as promised. Akron Public Schools will receive vaccines next week, but it’s not the amount they hoped to get.

Akron Public Schools will receive 780 vaccine doses next week, but Superintendent David James says that’s a fraction of the almost 3,000 doses the district needs to vaccinate all their staff.

“We’re glad that we’re starting the process of getting the vaccine, but there’s still no certainty that we’ll get the same amount or more the following week.”

James was hoping they would get all the vaccine doses they needed at once.

“You know in my advocacy it would be better if I had all the vaccines and get everyone – we were ready to do this mad rush and get everyone vaccinated.”

Now, the district is tasked with the increasingly complex decision of who gets the vaccine first, which will impact its plan to start an in person learning option. Board of Education President N.J. Akbar says putting students in classrooms cannot be taken lightly.

“This is unlike any other decision that a school board has to make. This has a direct link to life or death.”

With the time it takes for staff to get the second dose, James says in person learning can’t start until at least the second week of March. He expects the state to be flexible with the March 1 deadline for reopening schools.

The district has put out a survey for parents to complete, indicating their choice for in person or remote learning for the remainder of the school year. In the meantime, they’re preparing space in the administration building where Akron Children’s Hospital will start administering shots next week.

Abigail Bottar covers Akron, Canton, Kent and the surrounding areas for Ideastream Public Media.