COLUMBUS — With school districts across Ohio using a variety of options to educate students, Gov. Mike DeWine offered incentive for all to return to in-person learning.

DeWine announced more specifics for the state’s vaccine plan, which includes offering vaccines to all adult school district personnel as long as districts return to either hybrid or full in-person learning by March 1.

“We will be asking schools to send us the number of staff they believe will choose to take the vaccination and indicate if they are already working with partners for vaccine administration,” DeWine said.

The state’s largest school district, the Columbus City School System, has not held in-person classes since last March and continue to delay sports for students until at least Jan. 23. In order for teachers and staff to receive vaccines during the next round, it would have to commit to either hybrid or full in-person by March 1.

Some of the district’s student-athletes, who haven’t practice since mid-November, gathered outside the district’s offices Thursday with signs to show school board members of their desire to start playing again.

There has been no indication if Columbus City Schools will commit to return to some type of in-person learning in order to receive the vaccine.

Also, DeWine announced Phase 1B of the vaccine plan will begin Tuesday, reaching those 80 years of age and older. That should include 420,000 Ohioans. However, the state is expected to receive only 100,000 doses during the first week of distribution of the phase.

“With up to 420,000 people 80 years of age and above, and only 100,000 doses available the first week, it will take several weeks to vaccinate those 80 years of age and older,” DeWine said. “Phase 1B will take a few weeks, and a lot of coordination in distribution.”

Vaccines for those 80 and older will be administered by physicians, local health departments, hospitals, federally qualified health centers, in-home health service providers and some retail pharmacies.

By J.D. Davidson

The Center Square