Not all teachers will be fully immunized when they return to in-person learning

Not all teachers will be fully immunized when they return to in-person learning

OHIO — School employees in Ohio will be back in school buildings with students before they are fully vaccinated.

People who work in districts that want to go back to in-person learning can start getting Covid vaccines Feb. 1. Then, Gov. Mike Dewine wants to see a return to the classroom March 1.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses, three and four weeks apart. That means, these staff members will not be fully immunized by the time they are face to face with students.

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However, the Ohio Department of Health’s Chief Medical Officer, Bruce Vanderhoff said they will still have some level of protection.

“While it is absolutely true that two doses is very important, and it is required to get full immunity, the first dose of the vaccine appears to be substantial,” Dr. Vanderhoff said during the state’s Covid briefing Thursday.

AJ Ricker is an English teacher at Wayne High School in the Huber Heights City Schools district. His school is returning to in-person learning January 19th. He said he feels comfortable welcoming students back even before he is vaccinated because of his school’s Covid procedures.

“I think just experience with the virus, with the pandemic, I think we’ll be even safer coming back,” Ricker said.

While Ricker feels good about his district’s timeline, he wishes the state allowed more flexibility for other districts, to better accommodate all of Ohio’s communities.

“It’s not past the point of reason, I think, to maybe extend that a bit further,” Ricker said. “To make sure that people do get those second doses.”

Ricker is looking forward to getting the shot.

“We want to teach our students in person if we can. I want to have the vaccine for them, so that I can be safe around them,” Ricker said.

He has been teaching online for almost the entire school year.