Ohio COVID-19 Vaccine For Teachers And A Deadline Some Districts Cannot Meet : Reporters Roundtable
A week from Monday, the state wants students either back in physical classrooms full-time or at least several days a week as part of a hybrid learning model.
Governor DeWine set the March 1 deadline as a condition of offering the state's teachers and school staff members early access to the COVID-19 vaccine.
After taking the shots, some of the state's largest districts--including Akron and Cleveland--said they were working to reopening in-person learning would miss the March 1 deadline angering the governor.
The governor says the districts went back on the terms of an agreement signed by superintendents in January agreeing to the March 1 deadline in order to receive the vaccine.
When schools shuttered a year ago, gatherings such as proms and graduations had to be canceled. In some cases, graduation ceremonies were re-envisioned as either virtual or socially distanced events.
Now the governor says those events could be back on the table for this year--but with the usual precautions in place including masks and social distancing.
Ohio has been vaccinating priority groups since December.
The process delegated to local vaccine providers and health departments puts the onus of finding vaccines and appointments on Ohioans.
Some Ohioans complain the process is confusing and chaotic with long waiting lists and not enough vaccines to meet demand.
This week the state says it will soon make a centralized vaccine sign-up available.
Ohio has been under a state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic for nearly a full year.
Governor DeWine signed the emergency order on March 9, 2020.
A bill on its way to the Ohio House would seek to limit the governor's ability to make such declarations and also limit the amount of time public health orders could remain in effect.
The bill--Senate Bill 22--passed the Senate along party lines. It's sponsor says the bill provides a necessary check to the power of the executive branch during this pandemic.
Ohio lawmakers are preparing proposed legislation that would--if passed--abolish the death penalty in the state.
Governor DeWine has postponed executions in the state for the foreseeable future--effectively ending the death penalty while lawmakers grapple with the issue.
State Senator Nicki Antonio-a Democrat from Lakewood has spearheaded anti-death penalty efforts.
She says bills in the Ohio House and Senate will be introduced soon that would convert death penalties to life in prison without parole.
Anna Huntsman, Health Reporter, Ideastream
Kabir Bhatia, Reporter, WKSU
Karen Kasler, Statehouse News Bureau Chief, Ohio Public Radio/TV