Nearly 500 Nordonia school staff get first dose of COVID-19 vaccine

April Helms
Kent Weeklies
Sarah Paris, a math teacher at Nordonia High School, receives her first immunization against COVID-19. Staff with the school district were able to go to the Summit County Public Health facility on West Market in Akron to receive the vaccine in a drive-through style.

NORTHFIELD CENTER – More than 90% of the staff with the Nordonia Hills City Schools received the first round of COVID-19 vaccines Feb. 6 and 7.

Superintendent Joe Clark said that nearly 500 employees, including teachers, therapists, coaches, bus drivers, and substitutes, received the first dose of the Moderna vaccine at the Summit County Public Health facility on West Market Street in Akron.

Clark said he received his vaccination Feb. 6. He said Feb. 8 that he felt “great.”

“Sore arms all around,” Clark said. “A handful of people who were vaccinated [Feb. 7] felt sick [the next day]. We had 11 unfilled teacher absences in the district today, six at the middle school.”

The district did not have to change how classes were conducted, Clark said.

“We pulled extra bodies from anywhere we could get them,” Clark said on Feb. 8. “For example, our business manager is covering classes today.”

The second dose of the vaccine has been scheduled for March 12 through 14, Clark said. “The second dose of the Moderna vaccine reportedly is very reactive, often causing fever, chills, and muscle aches for up to 24 hours,” he said. “This means that we expect up to 50% of our staff to not feel healthy enough to work on March 15.”

As a result, Clark said, March 15 “will be a calamity day for all district students.”

“All schools will be closed, and we will not be providing remote instruction that day,” Clark said. “We expect to be open as regular on March 16.”

Jessica Archer, the associate principal at Nordonia High School, said she was “grateful, hopeful, and happy to receive this vaccination.”

“Admittedly, feeling a little emotional about it, too,” Archer said. “It's been a long year of new challenges, interlaced with moments of fear, frustration, exhaustion, pride, and satisfaction. Getting this vaccine feels like there's light at the end of the tunnel.”

Matt Gaugler, the business director for the district, said the immunization went smoothly. Gaugler received his Feb. 5.

“They had it set up in two lines and it went great,” Gaugler said that afternoon. “[It was a] drive-up service, and you get the vaccine right there in your car. All in all, I was there a little over a half hour, and that included 15 minutes of observation time after the shot. I got it done over an hour ago and feel fine.”

Rosa Griesinger, who teaches sixth grade math at Lee Eaton Eementary School, said she was “so happy to have the opportunity to get my COVID-19 vaccination” on Feb. 6.

“Nordonia rocks!” she said.

Reporter April Helms can be reached at ahelms@thebeaconjournal.com

Amy Gay, a family support specialist at Lee Eaton Elementary School, gets ready to receive her first COVID-19 vaccination. Staff with the Nordonia schools are slated to get the second vaccination March 12 through 14.
Bryan Seward, the principal at Nordonia Middle School, gets ready to receive his COVID-19 vaccination.
Debbie McNellie, a fourth-grade teacher at Rushwood Elementary School, receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Rosa Griesinger, a sixth-grade math teacher at Lee Eaton Elementary School, receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Griesinger and other staff members with the Nordonia Hills City Schools are scheduled to get their second immunization in March.
Hallie Eland, a remote teacher for Northfield and Rushwood elementary schools, gets ready to receive her first COVID-19 vaccination.
Jodi Subjack, a special education aide at Rushwood Elementary School, has just received her first round of COVID-19 vaccine.
Nordonia High School science teachers Erin Tong, front, and Brent Nenadal wait to receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Aaron Coleman, a science teacher at Nordonia High School, gives a thumbs up after receiving the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.