1/8/2021 - CEO Pandemic Update
January 8th, 2021
Dear Parents and Caregivers:
As you are likely aware, just before the holiday break, Governor DeWine announced his intention that teachers and other school district employees will soon have access to coronavirus vaccines with the Governor’s goal of having school districts reopened for in-person learning by March 1st. Additionally, the Governor also announced during the winter break relaxed quarantine requirements for Ohio’s schools and school districts.
On Tuesday, Lieutenant Governor Husted announced that vaccines will be prioritized for school districts that complete a form committing to reopen for in-person learning, and yesterday the Governor indicated vaccines will be available to K-12 educators beginning on or around the week of February 1st.
I am sure you are wondering what this means for you and your family, and for CMSD.
It is good news that Governor DeWine is prioritizing school district employees for vaccination, as the health and safety of our staff and community is one of the primary barriers preventing us and others from opening safely. However, as you can imagine and have likely seen in news coverage, the rollout of a vaccination plan for our state and our nation is a massive effort requiring an incredible amount of planning. As this complex distribution plan is being finalized, I want to assure you that I continue to remain in contact with state officials from the Governor’s Office and the Ohio Department of Education and receive personal communication and regular updates from the Director of the Cleveland Board of Public Health and from the Cuyahoga County Board of Health.
While I, myself, am still learning more about Ohio’s vaccination strategy, especially as it applies to K-12 education, here’s what I know and can share:
- Governor DeWine has established the week of February 1st as his aspiration for when vaccines will become available to K-12 employees, but each local Board of Health is responsible for the actual timing and process.
- For Cleveland (as in most areas of the state), the transition to K-12 employees will depend upon when the city’s Health Department has completed vaccinations of first responders, healthcare providers, and nursing home residents.
Once I have details about when the City of Cleveland can expect vaccines for teachers and other educators to begin and how the process will work, I will update you directly.
I know that our students, families, and caregivers are anxious to know the plans for the beginning of third quarter, including whether we will remain in a remote learning environment or begin the transition to a hybrid learning environment. I plan to update our community on our learning environment for the first half of third quarter on Friday, January 15th. In making that decision, I will continue to carefully monitor public health data from the city, the county, and the Ohio Public Health Advisory System. I will also weigh in the additional information about the vaccination process to determine how we, as a school community, can provide the best possible educational experience for our scholars while simultaneously ensuring a safe environment for our students and our educators.
Although the vaccines bring the prospect of an end to this long, difficult situation, the pandemic is not yet over. Please continue to wear your masks, maintain social distancing, and wash your hands frequently to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. And it’s equally important to continue offering grace to one another, as we work together to provide the best possible educational experience during these difficult times. Taking care of each other physically and social-emotionally continues to be as important now as it ever was.
Eric S. Gordon