Majority of Northeast Ohio Public School Districts Not Tracking Staff Immunization Status
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) – The majority of northeastern Ohio’s largest school districts are not tracking the immunization status of teachers and staff, according to data obtained by 19 investigators.
We surveyed 20 districts in northeastern Ohio and 14 responded.
Only three provided evidence of vaccination status monitoring: Lakewood, Parma and Medina.
“We need to make our children as safe as possible, and knowing whether teachers are vaccinated or not is part of that plan,” said Rachel Defransico, who has a daughter in kindergarten in the Mayfield school district.
Mayfield was one of many districts that estimated the vaccination rate of its staff but admitted it was not keeping up.
“This is private medical information,” said Laurie Uhlir, district communications director.
But attorney Jared Klabenow, who was asked to provide informal legal advice to 19 News specifically for this story, disagrees.
“This information is not private,” he said. “In fact, this is essential information for community members. “
Uhlir told 19 News via email that the district has encouraged staff to get vaccinated and estimated the vaccination rate to be around 80% based on previous staff clinics.
Mayfield is certainly not alone in his position.
“We are not permitted to ask employees if they have been vaccinated,” said Mark Williamson, director of marketing communications for Akron Public Schools. “We encourage all employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19. “
Klabenow admits that compiling individual health data and disseminating it publicly, even to parents, poses a greater legal debate.
But in this specific scenario, he argues that failing to keep track of the overall numbers or identifying a mere percentage of employees vaccinated is irresponsible.
“For a school district to have information, or to have access to the information and not provide it to the public is just plain wrong,” he told 19 News. “I would go so far as to say that it is somewhat irresponsible of school districts not to keep this information and make it available to the public.”
Below is a list of all schools surveyed and their response (listed in alphabetical order):
Akron Public Schools: Does not track vaccines, estimates 82% of teachers and 70% of staff with 4,000 employees are vaccinated.
School district of the city of Berea: Does not track vaccines, did not provide an estimate.
Canton City School District: Did not respond.
Cleveland Metropolitan School District: The state of follow-up is mixed. The district said 56.1% of all employees were vaccinated at clinics in February and March, and another 179 reported vaccines via insurance claims. However, the district does not require employees to submit insurance information.
Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District: Did not respond.
Elyria City School District: Does not track vaccines. They reported “high” attendance at the February clinic.
Schools of the city of Euclid: Did not respond.
Lakewood City School District: Track vaccine data; 85% of the 860 employees are vaccinated in mid-September.
Schools of the city of Lorain: Did not respond.
Schools in the town of Mayfield: Does not track vaccines, estimates 80% of staff are vaccinated based on previous clinics.
Schools of the city of Medina: Track vaccine data; 719 of the 858 employees are vaccinated for a total of 84%.
Public School Mentor: Does not track vaccines; around 900 out of 1,300 employees (including external staff) have registered in the clinics.
Parma City School District: Track vaccine data; 70% of the 1,875 employees are vaccinated.
Simple local schools: Did not respond.
Shaker Heights Schools: Did not respond.
Solon City School District: Does not track vaccines, estimates 80% of staff are vaccinated.
Schools in the town of Stow-Munroe Falls: Does not track vaccinees, reported 90% attendance at the February clinic.
City of Strongsville School District: Does not track vaccines, estimates 80% of staff are vaccinated.
Schools in the town of Willoughby-Eastlake: Does not track vaccines, did not provide an estimate.
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