Some school staffs appear wary of vaccine

By David J. Coehrs -

Not all staff members of Fulton County’s seven school districts will agree to accept the COVID-19 vaccine, according to surveys.

Gov. Mike DeWine reportedly would like all staff members of the state’s 600-plus public school districts to be vaccinated by March 1. But wariness caused by the rush to develop the available vaccines and their possible side effects are leaving some Ohioans – including school staff members – hesitant to be inoculated.

Swanton Local Schools Superintendent Chris Lake will submit a survey to the Fulton County Health Department showing that 95% of about 140 district staff members are interested in taking the vaccine; 24 others have declined.

“I have encouraged everyone to get the vaccine, but in the end the final choice is up to each individual,” Lake said. “Those who do not receive the vaccine will continue to work just as they have been doing all school year. Just because the majority of the staff may eventually be vaccinated that does not mean that we will be lifting our masking and distancing protocols.”

Lake said COVID safety measures in the school district will remain in place until the health department advises otherwise.

Swanton students have been in session five days a week since last August.

A district-wide survey conducted at Fayette Local Schools has determined that only about half of staff members, including some coaching staff, are interested in receiving the shot. The school district has not mandated the vaccine.

Fayette students have followed the regular school year calendar and daily schedule.

Staff in the Pettisville school district have until Friday to respond to a survey. Interim Superintendent Ken Boyer said, at last report, less than half of the approximately 80 staff members are willing to be vaccinated.

The district has had face-to-face classes since the current school year began.

Wauseon schools Superintendent Troy Armstrong said results of a survey last week show 48% of staff members are willing to get the vaccine.

“We are not making it mandatory, and I do not have a problem with people’s personal preference when it comes to the vaccine,” he said. “It’s the individual’s right to decide whether they want the vaccine or not.”

Students are presently attending online classes but are scheduled to return Jan. 19. Armstrong said he has no reservations about staff members who don’t receive the vaccine interacting with students.

Staff in the Evergreen school district are still being surveyed about the vaccine, so data is not yet available, Superintendent Eric Smola said. He added that vaccinations won’t be mandatory.

Archbold Area Schools administrators also recently distributed survey to approximately 145 district employees but haven’t set a timeline for their responses. The district’s students attend in-class five days per week.

Ted Haselman, Pike-Delta-York superintendent, said the school district’s approximately 160 employees have been asked whether they’d like to receive the vaccine. “However, because staff are still able to respond we do not know exactly what percentage of our staff is wanting to get the vaccine,” he said.

By David J. Coehrs

Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.

Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.