MEDINA COUNTY, Ohio — Cloverleaf Local Schools is a small district that accomplished a big feat: the first district in the state to offer vaccinations for its teachers.
“My consideration was, what's the soonest I can get our kids back here in school?” said Superintendent Daryl Kubilus.
Kubilus said he was in negotiation with the Medina County Health Department even before Governor Mike Dewine announced the timetable and rollout for Phase 1B to make vaccines available to Cloverleaf staff.
“This was all before the governor prioritized the 1Bs on Jan. 7 for 80-year-olds, 75-year-olds, etc.” he said. “At that time, health departments were able to prioritize the 1As and prioritize the 1Bs in every county, so they were given autonomy.”
Kubilus said the agreement was that the Medina County Health Department would take unused vaccines from Phase 1A and distribute them to Cloverleaf staff in order to get the students and educators back in the classroom.
Despite the state announcing educators would be eligible to receive vaccines on Feb.1, Kubilus said the agreement was still honored.
“They did ask us to limit the vaccinations that we would need,” he said.
On Saturday, 84 of the 184 teachers in the district received the vaccine. On Tuesday, the district started in-person learning again.
Suzanne Raber is a reading intervention teacher at Cloverleaf Elementary. She received her first dose on Saturday.
“I wanted to make sure, beforehand, that I’m not taking this away from an 80-year-old who is waiting for it and they assured us that we weren’t,” she said. “I just felt that it was an opportunity that was given to me and I was happy to take it.”
She said it adds another level of protection in addition to masking, social distancing and cleaning and gives her more confidence being back in the building.
“I just feel better knowing that my body is starting to build immunity. We are still of course keeping our distance, which is very difficult with younger children, but it was just something I really wanted to do,” she said.
But, for her, it was also about getting the students back in the classroom.
“Just the social aspect, they were very happy to be back this week, just to see their friends and to be around people,” she said.
Kubilus echoed her sentiment. He said it was a race against time to get the students back in the building.
“Every day that our kids aren't here in school is a day that they're not getting the best possible learning experience from our cloverleaf teachers, that they're possibly not getting nutritious food and that they're possibly suffering from some sort of social isolation,” he said. “It’s time to get our kids back and that's what I advocated for.”
Kubilus said the rest of the staff will be vaccinated if they would like sometime in February.
News 5 reached out to the Medina County Health Department, but have not heard back.
The Ohio Department of Health sent this statement:
The Ohio Department of Health is aware of the agreement by the Medina Public Health department and the Cloverleaf schools about vaccinating staff before phase 1B was announced by the Governor. It is important that kids go back to school for their emotional and mental health and we support efforts to do that. However, it is important for our vaccine providers follow the guidance and the Phase 1B plan that has been laid out by the Governor and ODH so that we have enough vaccine to make sure the most vulnerable populations are receiving their shots first.