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CEO, others get vaccine, urge staff, public to do the same (Video)






CEO Eric Gordon and nine other District leaders have taken their shots. Now they are hoping that others will follow their example.

With media recording the moment, the CEO, other top District administrators and leaders of unions representing employees were vaccinated against COVID-19 Tuesday morning at East Tech High School.

Surveys show that a large majority of staff members plan to receive vaccines, which are voluntary. But CEO Gordon and the others wanted to share their sense of safety and comfort with employees who are undecided and those in the community who might have reservations.

“Neighbor to neighbor, employee to employee, we want to encourage everyone to get the vaccine,” Gordon said.

CMSD, under the supervision of the Cleveland Board of Public Health, is operating vaccination centers, or pods, at East Tech and Max S. Hayes high schools.

By next week, the District expects to administer the Moderna vaccine to 7,000 employees, substitutes and contractors, as well as staff from 26 charter and non-public schools. They will return in a few weeks for a second dose.

The hope is that after months of remote learning, the mass vaccination will help pave the way for a hybrid of in-person and online instruction. Completion of vaccinations and public health conditions, which are improving as of late, also will factor into the decision.

Even under a hybrid system, parents and caregivers who are uncomfortable sending their children back to school can remain in remote learning. And they will not lose their seats at schools where students have been enrolled.

Cleveland Teachers Union President Shari Obrenski was among those who were vaccinated at East Tech. She said union members are showing strong support for vaccination.

“We have a lot of people who are really excited about it,” she said. “We have others who are reluctant for a variety of reasons. Overall, people are very positive.”

The participants went through the stages of the pod process, including registration, screening for COVID symptoms and other factors, administration of the vaccine and post-vaccination observation.

On his way out, Chief Operating Officer Patrick Zohn paused at the optional selfie station, a frame adorned with the words, “I Got My COVID-19 Vaccine,” and the social media hashtag #CMSDSafe. Instead of a photo, he recorded a video urging Operations Division employees to get the shot.

“It was easy, quick and it doesn’t really hurt,” he says in the video, rolling up a sleeve to show off a Band-Aid. “It’s so important. Thank you for participating. Stay safe, be well, and I will see you soon in our buildings.”