Cincinnati Public Schools was the first school district in Ohio to require its staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and it could be the first to do the same for students.
The school administrators discuss the possible policy at a Monday evening meeting. Community members can view and join the meeting online. It starts at 6:30 pm
More: Here’s How To Take Your Child To Get A COVID-19 Vaccine In Greater Cincinnati
The Food and Drug Administration has approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for people ages 16 and older, although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for anyone ages 5 and older.
“I think parents should feel comfortable,” said Dr. Robert Frenck, director of the Gamble Center for Vaccine Research at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, on the COVID-19 vaccine for children. “It continues to show a very good safety profile.”
To date, few school systems in the country have required K-12 public school students to be vaccinated. Most districts that have made a requirement have only done so for student athletes — school systems in Hawaii, Maryland, New York, and North Carolina have done so. Few districts in California have required all eligible students to be vaccinated.
In early October, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the state will require eligible students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to attend school in person, but only after the FDA fully approves the vaccine for more school-age children.
Most local colleges and universities have required students to be vaccinated, including Miami University, University of Cincinnati and Xavier University.
More: COVID-19 vaccine mandates: More than 90% of Miami University students got the jab
Seventeen states have passed laws or issued guidelines that prohibit schools or colleges from requiring students to be vaccinated against the virus, according to the National Academy for State Health Policy. Ohio is one of those states, although the ban only applies to vaccine mandates that do not have full FDA approval.
The CPS Policy and Equity Committee has already drafted policies that require district students to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. It is not clear how many students in the district are currently vaccinated against the virus.
The policy will not be voted on during Monday’s meeting, board member Mike Moroski confirmed to The Enquirer.
Monday’s meeting will also include an update on the district’s search for a new superintendent. The district’s search agency, Alma Advisory Group of Chicago, posted the superintendent job posting online Monday morning and is now accepting applications.
More: Who has what it takes to become the next CPS superintendent? Vacancy is now live
“We know this is the most important thing we decide and we know it means we have to figure out the future,” board member Eve Bolton said at a press conference on Monday. “We are excited.”
The full agenda and access to Monday’s meeting can be found on the district’s website.