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JeffCo Public Schools announces vaccine plan

Jeffco Public Schools has announced its plan to vaccinate teachers and staff for COVID-19.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo — Jeffco Public Schools has announced its plan to provide access to the COVID-19 vaccine to teachers and staff and Interim Superintendent Kristopher Schuh predicts the process will move quickly.

"They should have the capacity to vaccinate 3,500 of our employees a week for the next three weeks," Schuh said.

>The video above is from a 9NEWS report from Feb. 9 about JeffCo teachers asking for clarity on the district's vaccine distribution plan.

According to the district's vaccination process, the email addresses of all employees have been submitted to the major healthcare providers in the district. Employees will be contacted by email when they are eligible to receive the vaccine.

Schuh said he knows people across the district were frustrated with communications.

"On Friday, we send the information out, it didn't hit the right note," Schuh said. "It didn't provide enough information so that moved into us fixing the problem."

Dale Munholland, a social studies teacher at Pomona High School and vice president of the Jefferson County Education Association, said teachers felt abandoned by the district.

"It seemed like nobody knew what was going on or what to do," Munholland said. "Due to the lack of guidance from the district, the teachers took it upon themselves to figure out the processes, where to go, how to do this, when to get there."

Part of the issue, Schuh said, is the population makeup.

>The video below is from a 9NEWS report from Feb. 12 about JeffCo schools announcing their vaccine plan.

"We have the largest population of 70-plus-year-olds," Schuh said. "We have 64,000 70-plus-year-olds living in Jefferson County."

With 70-plus residents ranked before teachers on the vaccination distribution list, Schuh said the state had to address the issue so teachers can start getting the shots, too.

"They have brought additional vaccinations or doses into Jefferson County though our providers so they could ramp up the dosing process of that 70-plus group," Schuh said.

The email to employees will have instructions to sign up with the provider's system, Schuh said. Once the employee is in the system, they will be able to make an appointment to receive the vaccine, according to the district's plan.

The list of providers includes Kaiser Permanente, Centura Health and SCL Health and Schuh said they will all reserve vaccine doses just for educators.

"A third of the vaccines that they receive for Jefferson County do go for our employees," Schuh said.

The same provider that contacts an employee will be responsible for coordinating the second dose appointment once the first dose has been administered, the district said.

"That second dose can create more of a reaction, so this is something we're preparing for now," Schuh said.

He promises the district is planning ahead by preparing to have staff cover for teachers who may not feel well after the vaccination. Schuh hopes to have all JeffCo employees receive their first shots by the end of February.

"We are moving towards that goal of getting all 14,257 of our fantastic employees vaccinated so I will be a much happier man when that happens," Schuch said.

Jeffco Public Schools will not be distributing the vaccine directly to any employee, nor will the district determine who is eligible, the plan reads.

In addition to this plan, employees are also encouraged to seek their own vaccination opportunities. If an employee has an existing appointment with a provider, the district asks that the employee keep that appointment and disregard emails from the other providers.

Munholland said he feels better about the process.

"For the most part, I’m much more hopeful and positive, my outlook is more positive going forward today than it was earlier this week where there was just a lot of frustration," Munholland said.

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