Citing CEO Justin Jennings, Youngstown City Schools Superintendent Joseph Meranto said, “… We will not return until we feel it is really safe for our staff and students.”
YOUNGSTOWN – Youngstown City Schools superintendent Joseph Meranto made it clear on Tuesday night: According to CEO Justin Jennings, there is currently no plan to return students to school for personal lessons.
Meranto said Jennings was actively trying to get more information about vaccination from the school district.
Therefore, students and staff returning to school in person will depend on what happens to the vaccines and what happens to the pandemic.
“[Jennings] said, and I support him 1,000 percent, that we will not return until we feel that it is really safe for our staff and students, ”said Meranto. “We all want to go back to school … but he wants to make sure that when we go back, we go back safely for everyone.”
The Ohio Department of Health plans to begin Phase 1B vaccinations the week of January 19. The focus is on Ohioans 65 and over and people with severe congenital, developmental, or early-onset medical disorders. It also aims to vaccinate adults who work in schools with the goal of having a personal school by March 1st.
At the school council meeting on Tuesday, Meranto said staff could start vaccinating as early as February 1, although he cited March 1 as an arbitrary date that students should return in person as it falls in the middle of the semester.
In addition to the challenges of having COVID-19 security logs in all buildings and having enough vaccinated staff, there are also issues with coordinating transportation so students can return to face-to-face classes.
Parish schools currently also use Youngstown buses for transportation, Meranto said. When Youngstown City Schools return in person, it will be difficult to easily transport students in a typical time frame as social distancing protocols do not allow full capacity on buses.
Meanwhile, the Youngstown City Health District has been vaccinating Phase 1A for the past two weeks. So much about 500 of 800 Moderna Coronavirus Vaccines were given.
The health department asks people who qualify for phase 1B to fill out the coronavirus vaccination form on his website, including school districts.
The form helps the health department plan the right amount of staff and vaccinations for the next phase. When the health department is ready to begin Phase 1B vaccination, people who have completed the form will be contacted to schedule an appointment at a vaccination clinic.