Akbar, Hall Appointed President, Vice President

Board Approves Commitment Letter for Vaccines
Posted on 01/12/2021
Image of APS LogoAkron Public Schools (APS) Board of Education has voted to appoint board member N.J. Akbar, Ph.D., as its new president and board member Derrick Hall as its vice president. The vote was 4-3 in favor for each at last night’s meeting. Akbar had been vice president under outgoing President Patrick Bravo. He and Hall are in their first elected terms to the board.

Image of N.J. Akbar Image of Derrick Hall
 N.J. Akbar, Ph.D.  Derrick Hall

Also at Monday’s meeting, APS moved a step closer to returning some students to classrooms following a 7-0 vote to authorize Superintendent David W. James to sign a so-called commitment letter to the state that commits the school district to reopen in early March as a condition for receiving teacher and staff vaccines.

The letter is, according to James, the first step in the process of going back to on-site learning at APS. “This is our pledge to reopen school buildings for in-person learning in March," said James. “This allows our teachers and other staff to receive an early-round COVID-19 vaccine.”

James also told the board that even though Ohio offers the vaccine supply to schools that certify -- if they are now fully remote -- they will reopen in at least a blended format by March 1. The superintendent believes there is some flexibility in that target date due to the logistics of vaccinating as many as 4,000 employees.

“We’re really not even certain,” said James, “just how many vaccines we might be able to obtain or how quickly they could be administered. Following all protocols, the entire process can take as long as six weeks from the time our first vaccine is administered.”

Dosing of the vaccines, according to public health officials, comes in two phases. Depending upon which vaccine is available, there could be three to four weeks between the first and the second (final) inoculation.

Superintendent James made it clear that receiving a vaccine would be optional. A survey will be sent to staff to learn how many employees would want the vaccine.

An online option will remain in place for families who would not feel ready to send their children back into a classroom yet.

Then there will also be what APS calls Remote Plus. The superintendent said the plan brings into school buildings a relatively small number of struggling students for limited interventions. This plan is still expected to happen, possibly by the end of this month. A date will be finalized later this week.
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