Board to discuss student vaccine mandate survey results
By: Jake Ryle , Ally Kraemer
CINCINNATI — A majority of parents who responded to a Cincinnati Public Schools survey said they do not support a vaccine mandate for students.
The Cincinnati Board of Education met Monday to discuss a proposed mandate requiring all eligible students to either be vaccinated or submit to testing once a week. More than 6,000 parents responded to the district’s survey, with 66% saying they did not support a vaccine mandate. The district has about 36,000 students.
“It was pretty clear from the results that this is something that even a close majority of parents are supporting,” CPS board member Ben Lindy said. “I’m trying to make meaning of that.”
Board members were anxious about a student vaccine mandate last month, worrying some parents might pull their kids from the district. At the time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had yet to approve a vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.
Board President Carolyn Jones clarified the mandate, saying the district would not kick students out of schools. Still, she said, she knows a large group of parents are against it.
“While I want all of our kids to be safe and vaccinated, because that’s my personal value system, we’re not dealing with kids,” Jones said. “Really we’re dealing with parents.”
In addition to responding to the district’s survey, parents also spoke during the meeting.
“I don’t think it’s the place of the district or school board to regulate the vaccine,” parent Edward Allie said. “It should be the decision of the parents or the legal guardian.”
Board member Ryan Messer said it’s “very clear” a majority of families are against a vaccine, and member Eve Bolton said “it’s clearly not [the board’s] role.”
The board did discuss the possibility of requiring vaccinations for special education students or those involved in extra curriculars or close contact sports, but they made no proposals. Now, members said, they will focus on educating families on the vaccine and offering opportunities for students to get the shot.
CPS does not currently track vaccination status for students. The district has offered student vaccine clinics in the past, but the board said there are not any scheduled for the 5 to 11 age group at this time.
The board voted 5-0 in September to require all staff and faculty to get vaccinated or show a negative COVID-19 test once a week.
Reposted with permission from WCPO 9 Cincinnati