Hilliard City Schools personnel could start receiving COVID-19 vaccinations in early February

A. Kevin Corvo
ThisWeek group

Approximately 1,400 Hilliard City Schools employees could receive the first of two rounds of COVID-19 coronavirus vaccinations as soon as the first week of February, Superintendent John Marschhausen told school board members Jan. 11.

Marschhausen said the district has two pharmaceutical partners that will administer the vaccines at one or more of the district’s three high schools to make it as convenient as possible for employees.

Classroom teachers, bus drivers, custodians and food-service workers will be included, he said.

The Hilliard City Schools Central Office is at 2140 Atlas St. in Columbus.

As far as students are concerned, it is “not on anyone’s radar,” said Marschhausen, adding that clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines did not include any persons under the age of 16.

The vaccines will not be mandatory for district employees, he said.

“We are not forcing any staff to get vaccinated," Marschhausen said. "If you choose not to (receive a vaccine), it is your right. There will be no judgment or comments, (but) when we are 'all in' (in-person learning mode), you will be expected to be at work."

Marschhausen said it is “premature” to determine a date when all students can return to classrooms, but district leaders hope it will be “sometime in March.”

Board members on Jan. 11 unanimously approved a resolution that authorized shifts in remote-learning days as required to accommodate the vaccinations of staff members.

But even after vaccines are administered and all students return to classrooms, masks will remain required and challenges will remain, including how to arrange cafeterias to maintain social distancing when all students are present, for which a task force has been created, Marschhausen said.

Mary Kennedy, president of the Hilliard Education Association, said she is pleased the vaccines are being made available.

"HEA is thankful that educators and education staff personnel will voluntarily receive the COVID-19 vaccine in a timely manner," she said. "We don't know when we will return to an all-in mode of instruction, but we look forward to being in front of all of our students when the data says it is safe to do so."

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo