Teachers union: Vaccine only a part of getting Colorado classrooms back to normal

Coronavirus

DENVER (KDVR) — Teachers and other classroom workers will start receiving the COVID-19 vaccine next month, but the head of the teachers union says that will only be a part of getting Colorado classrooms back to normal.

Gov. Jared Polis announced Friday the state will start vaccinating educators Feb. 8 with the goal of getting through all first doses within a few week period.

Amie Baca-Oehlert, president of the Colorado Education Association, says the vaccine will help eventually allow teachers to safely return to in-person learning, but she believes other safety precautions should remain in place such as mask-wearing and social distancing.

“It’s going to be important — we believe for the remainder of the school year — to implement those protective layering strategies. I do also believe that having the vaccine will create a sense of relief and a sense of security that we don’t have right now,” said Baca-Oehlert.

It’s not clear whether safety measures such as limiting class size and using hybrid learning will remain in place.

Some districts have already started phasing in full in-person learning for certain students. Kelly Holdridge, a parent with kids in the Poudre School District, says she feels her kids are safe in the classroom.

“It was pretty much the best day ever. It was like going to school again for the first day. My oldest son set out all his clothes and accessories for the whole week,” said Holdridge.

She’s optimistic that the latest announcement from the state will help keep her kids in school.

“You’re just so excited, like you can’t believe it for a second. You get your hopes up and then things get taken away. But hopefully, this is going to stick and we can make everyone feel comfortable,” said Holdridge.

Based on vaccine logistics, it could take months for all educators to receive both doses and be fully vaccinated. 

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