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DeWine: School employees up next for COVID-19 vaccine

COLUMBUS — Gov. Mike DeWine announced the goals of Phase 1B of COVID-19 vaccine distribution are to save lives and for schools to be fully open by March 1.
“Ohioans in the 65 and older category make up just under 87 percent of COVID deaths. This is a stunning number, and it’s critical that we protect our older Ohioans,” said DeWine.
In the next phase, vaccines will be available to those who choose to receive them who are 65 years or older or those living with severe congenital, developmental, or early-onset medical disorders. Additionally, adults working in Ohio’s schools will have the option to receive the vaccine. This is intended to assist schools in returning to in-person learning.
Additional details about the next phase are forthcoming.
The following Phase 1A members are currently receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.  This phase includes health care workers and personnel, nursing homes residents and staff, assisted living facilities residents and staff, psychiatric hospital patients and staff, people with developmental disabilities and those with mental illness who live in group homes or centers and staff at those locations, Ohio veterans’ homes residents and staff and EMS responders.
The local health departments and hospitals will assist with managing mass vaccination clinics as more vaccines are shipped to Ohio.
“Ohio’s public health departments and hospitals are experts at managing mass vaccination clinics, and I am thankful we can turn to them to begin vaccinating Ohioans against COVID-19,” DeWine said.
Since reopening child care at the end of May, Ohio has participated in two significant research studies on the spread of COVID in child care settings. The results of both studies found that child care did not lead to an increased risk for contracting COVID.
In October, Yale University released their findings from a survey of nearly 100,000 child care educators across the nation, including more than 5,000 in Ohio. This study found the work of child care providers to sanitize, wash hands, stay masked and social distance greatly impacted the safety of children in their care.
The Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation also commissioned a study of Ohio child care facilities through Case Western Reserve University. The results of this study will be released soon, confirming the findings of the Yale study.
Through parent and child care worker surveys and interviews; symptom tracking of workers, children and parents; and hundreds of COVID-19 tests of child care workers and families from August to November, researchers from Case Western found no link between child care and an increased risk of contracting COVID-19. In fact, just two asymptomatic positives were found among the nearly 400 COVID tests, which is a positivity rate of just 0.5 percent.
“I want to thank all of our child care workers for their efforts over the past nine months,” DeWine said. “You all have truly risen to the occasion to protect the children and families you serve, and just as importantly, yourselves.”