92% of Tallmadge Schools staff want COVID-19 vaccine

Krista S. Kano
Kent Weeklies
Tallmadge High School

Over 90% of Tallmadge City School staff are planning to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but district leaders are still unclear how that will happen.

Earlier this month, Superintendent Jeff Ferguson signed the governor's letter of intent to have school at least partially in-person on March 1 in order to secure vaccinations for school personnel.

About 95% of Ohio schools signed the pledge.

More:Akron district pledges to reopen schools in March, allowing for early vaccinations for staff

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The letter has no effect on Tallmadge's learning models because the district's kindergartners through fifth-graders are already in school every day while sixth- through 12th-graders are in a hybrid model.

During the January Board of Education meeting, Director of Student Services Roy Zeman reported that 285 staff members, 92%, have requested the vaccine.

School personnel are part of the Phase 1B group for Ohio's vaccine rollout and are currently scheduled to receive the first dose starting on Feb. 1. Tallmadge will work with Akron Children's Hospital to distribute the vaccine.

"So much of this is unknown," Superintendent Jeff Ferguson said. "We don't know yet if they're going to vaccinate 25 of our staff a day, or all 285 at once. Do we drive individually to get it done or do they come to us? Those are all details that are yet to come."

The district is also working on a contingency plan in case all personnel receive the first dose on the same day.

"We may need to suggest a remote day for the next day [after vaccination] and be prepared," Ferguson said.

He said that in gathering their own data, and consulting with Summit County Public Health and Akron Children's Hospital, they found that some individuals have experienced side effects from the first dose.

Ferguson said that while side effects have not been severe, there was a chance that many staff members could react to the vaccine. In that potential scenario, the district does not have enough substitutes to offer in-person learning.

Reporter Krista S. Kano can be reached at 330-541-9416, kkano@thebeaconjournal.com or on Twitter @KristaKanoABJ.