Cincinnati Public Schools was the first Ohio school district to require its staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and it could be the first to do the same for students.
School board members will discuss the potential policy at a Monday night meeting. Community members can watch and participate in the meeting online. It starts at 6:30 p.m.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for people 16 and older, though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has authorized Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for anyone 5 years old and older.
"I think parents should feel comfortable," Dr. Robert Frenck, director of the Gamble Center for Vaccine Research at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, said of the COVID-19 vaccine for children. "It's continuing to show a very good safety profile."
So far, few school systems in the country have required public school students in K-12 to get vaccinated. The majority of districts that have made a requirement have done so for student-athletes only – school systems in Hawaii, Maryland, New York and North Carolina have done this. Few districts in California have required all eligible students to be vaccinated.
In early October, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state will require eligible students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to attend in-person school, but only after the FDA fully approves the vaccine for more school-aged children.
Most local colleges and universities have required students to be vaccinated, including Miami University, University of Cincinnati and Xavier University.
Seventeen states have passed laws or issued directives banning 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, though the ban only applies to vaccine mandates that do not have full FDA approval.
CPS' policy and equity committee has already drafted the policy that would require district students to get the COVID-19 vaccine. It's not clear how many students in the district are currently vaccinated against the virus.
There will not be a vote on the policy 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 firm, Alma Advisory Group of Chicago, posted the superintendent job online Monday morning and is now accepting applications.
"We know this is the most important thing we decide and we know it means figuring out the future," board member Eve Bolton said during a Monday news conference. "We're excited about it."
The full agenda and access to join Monday's meeting can be found on the district's website.