On Feb. 2, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) released updated guidance on the K-12 School Staff Vaccination Program. The new guidance includes an updated K-12 school vaccination timeline as well as more specific definitions as to which K-12 personnel are eligible for the vaccinations.
More specifically, ODH states the following in the new guidelines:
- Eligible K-12 employees Only K-12 school employees who are necessary to the operation of in-person instruction and services for students will be eligible for vaccination. This includes:
• Teachers and long-term substitutes;
• Bus drivers and cafeteria workers;
• Environmental and building services workers; and
• Other adults in school district buildings who regularly interact with students and have a contractual relationship with the district (such as office personnel, aides, non-teaching staff, coaches, etc.)
The program does NOT include school board members, parent volunteers or early-childhood providers.
- Prioritization of your staff: If possible, within these eligible groups, ODH recommends that districts prioritize school staff who work with students unable to wear a face mask because of health or educational needs
The guidelines also address planning and communications issues and include a couple of important links.
Some board members may perform other functions for the district that are necessary to the operation of in-person instruction and services for students and bring them into regular contact with students. If that is the case, the district should consult with its legal counsel and county health department to determine whether the board member can be included among the district personnel who are eligible for the vaccine.
The new ODH guidelines on K-12 school vaccinations can be found at https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/static/vaccine/K12_vaccination_program_participants_letter.pdf.