DPS gauges vaccine interest among teachers ahead of distribution

COVID-19 Vaccine

DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado educators will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations starting Feb. 8, according to the latest distribution schedule. School districts are partnering with healthcare systems to get the job done.

Denver Public Schools educators received a short survey Monday in their email inboxes concerning vaccinations.

“Just a really quick one-question survey— Do you want to be vaccinated? Do you want to receive the vaccine,” said Tim Hernández, an English teacher at North High School.

Hernández received that email from the interim superintendent. Hernández and his colleagues, across Colorado, know that a vaccinated teaching workforce is key to keeping children in the classroom.

“I feel a lot more confident being able to interact with students in productive ways,” he explained.

The state health department (CDPHE) said school districts are coordinating with various healthcare systems in the state to ensure a centralized and effective way of getting doses into teachers’ arms.

“Employers (school districts) will be in touch with more information about how to schedule your vaccine,” a CDPHE spokesman said Monday.

The state wants educators to be vaccinated through their employers’ coordinated efforts. But officials never said educators were not allowed to individually and directly register for vaccinations themselves. However, doing that might not make much of a difference when it comes to timing.

For Hernández, there are mixed emotions as he thinks about the days ahead.

“I know that it’s a privilege to be able to be a school worker and receive the vaccine— when I know people like my aunt … people like my neighbors are not going to [get vaccinated as soon],” he said.

Governor Polis estimates it will take two to three weeks to get first doses in the arms of every willing educator across the state. Despite being vaccinated, mask wearing and distancing will still be necessary for the the foreseeable future, according to public health officials nationwide.

CDPHE said school district administrators statewide should be in contact with their local health departments to coordinate vaccine distribution for school staffers.

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