MEIGS COUNTY — School district personnel in Meigs County have now received their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Eastern, Meigs and Southern were scheduled to receive their first vaccines the week of Feb. 15, with Eastern and Meigs delayed to this week due to the winter weather last week.
“The vaccine adds yet another layer of protection for our district as we continue to navigate through the pandemic,” said Eastern Local Supt. Steve Ohlinger.
Southern Local Supt. Tony Deem added, “Vaccinations are one more line of defense.”
Deem stated that 133 people — over 90 percent of the staff — were vaccinated on Feb. 18 by the Meigs County Health Department. Southern Local staff will receive their second doses on March 11.
Ohlinger stated that 77 individuals associated with the district received the Moderna vaccine on Wednesday. Eastern Local’s vaccines were administered by Hopewell Health Centers in the recently opened school-based health clinic at Eastern High School. Eastern Local staff will receive their second dose on March 26.
Meigs Local received it’s first doses of the Moderna vaccine on Thursday, after the initial vaccines were postponed from last week due to weather and shipping delays.
Meigs Local Supt. Scot Gheen stated, “Fruth Pharmacy administered the vaccines with assistance form our school nurses. We had 192 individuals vaccinated, or close to 70 percent.” Second doses at Meigs are tentatively scheduled for March 25.
While the vaccines provide a new layer of protection against the virus, schools in Meigs County have maintained at least blended in-person learning throughout much of the 2020-21 school year.
Southern Local has maintained five day per week in-person learning throughout the school year for those who wished to attend, with some of the district’s students selecting full-remote learning for the school year.
“We plan on continuing down the same path that we are currently on and hopefully we can return to somewhat normal one day,” stated Deem.
Ohlinger said that Eastern Local recently returned to four day per week in-person learning, with Wednesday as a remote learning day for all students as some district students have selected the full-remote learning model.
As for Meigs, Gheen stated, “We are still using the 3/2 model for blended and remote students, but will continue to have discussions regarding the current model as we progress, evaluate COVID numbers in the district, and see what best works for both students and staff to deliver quality instruction to our students. We are currently running about 64 percent blended to 36 percent remote in the district.”
“As Steve (Ohlinger) said, the vaccine adds another layer of protection for our district staff and students and we hope that it also helps our staff have and extra sense of safety,” concluded Gheen.
“I feel very fortunate that we were able to get the vaccine so quickly and I am very grateful to the Meigs County Health Department,” added Deem.
As previously reported, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine had included school staff as part of the Phase 1B vaccine efforts, with school personnel able to be vaccinated beginning Feb. 1. The state had scheduled counties to receive vaccines on a staggered schedule in part due to vaccine availability.
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Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.