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Teachers at Woodridge Local Schools in Summit Co. among the first in Northeast Ohio to get vaccinated

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Posted at 1:25 PM, Feb 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-03 19:26:26-05

PENNINSULA, Ohio — Some of the first teachers in Northeast Ohio to receive the first dose of the COVID vaccine were at Woodridge Middle School in Penninsula Wednesday morning.

Woodridge Local Schools Superintendent Walter Davis told News 5 that about 80% of his 381-person staff opted to get the vaccination and that they could all be accommodated Wednesday morning by Akron Children’s Hospital.

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Teachers cycled through three vaccination sites on one side of the hallway before going to an observation area on the other side for 15 minutes before leaving.

Appointments were spread out every 20 minutes to prevent too large a crowd from building while waiting for their shots. Staff moved to the gym across the hallway to wait for 15 minutes to make sure they didn’t have any negative reactions to the shot before leaving.

The news that Summit County would be one of the first 10 counties across Ohio to get COVID vaccine specifically for teachers gives the educators an extra layer of protection, and plenty of relief.

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About 80% of the staff opted in for a vaccine shot, meaning more than 300 school staff received their first dose Wednesday morning.

“I fell off my chair in my room when I got the email,” said High School World History and Economics teacher Kevin Hearty. “I was like, ‘You’ve gotta be kidding me. We’re going to get a shot, we’re going to get a vaccine.”

Woodridge Local Schools already has students in Kindergarten through fifth grade doing in-person instruction every day because Davis says the elementary school building is large enough to maintain six feet of social distance, even with the full school population.

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The observation area allows staff to make sure they aren't having a negative reaction to the shot before leaving.

Davis says he doesn’t have enough room to return to in-person instruction every day in the middle school or high school, so they’ll stay on their hybrid learning schedule for now, even though more than 300 teachers now have their first shot of the vaccine.

Still, the vaccine is a welcome step for teachers who have managed a hybrid schedule for almost a year.

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Woodridge's Middle School and High School will keep learning on a hybrid schedule because the district Superintendent says social distancing won't be possible with every student back in the buildings.

“We need to go back to school,” said entrepreneurial program teacher Emily Knight. “From the youngest learners to the oldest learners, it just isn’t the same in a remote environment.”

The vaccine shots were delivered by Akron Children’s Hospital, which is also doing vaccines for other districts in nearby counties as vaccine is released to those communities over the next few weeks. The hospital says in three weeks, they’ll be back running the same vaccine delivery for second doses.

While these Summit County teachers were among the first in our area to be vaccinated under the state's Phase 1B rollout, a school in Medina County was the very first in Northeast Ohio to vaccinate the staff two weeks ago thanks to a negotiation with the Medina County Health Department.

RELATED: Cloverleaf Local Schools back in classrooms as staff receive vaccines before any other district in Ohio

All school staff in Medina County will be vaccinated through Discount Drug Mart on Thursday, February 4.

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