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Cleveland school leaders get first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in effort to 'encourage community to follow their example'

Ohio's K-12 school employees first became eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine on Feb. 1.
Credit: Tim Coffey, 3News
Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eric Gordon gets his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

CLEVELAND — As K-12 school employees continue getting vaccinated for COVID-19 throughout the state, leaders within the Cleveland Metropolitan School District – including CEO Eric Gordon – are getting their first dose today.

School officials say their mission with this effort is to “encourage the community to follow their example” by getting vaccinated for COVID-19. Gordon said the second doses will be administered March 10-20.

Before receiving his first dose of the vaccine, Gordon added that the decision for other Cleveland school employees is entirely voluntary.

“We understand that vaccination is a very personal issue," he said. "There are longstanding, negative historical consequences particularly in the Black or African American community, and there are people who are religiously or morally opposed. So this is not a mandatory vaccine. However, when we do return to work, employees are expected to return and serve our students whether they chose to be vaccinated or not.”

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Last week, CMSD started the process of vaccinating more than 15,000 educators at two different locations. 3News’ Romney Smith previously reported that CMSD will also have an on-call list to make sure no shots go to waste in case appointments are missed. School leaders are tracking COVID cases and hospitalizations with plans to safely reopen in a hybrid model once all staff who wants the vaccine has both doses.

Just a few days ago, thousands of school workers in Medina County were among the first in Ohio to receive their COVID-19 vaccination.

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