DENVER — School nurses within the Cherry Creek School District (CCSD) were the first school district employees in the state to receive the COVID-19 vaccine last week at Parker Adventist Hospital.
The move kicked off a multi-month effort by Centura Health and CCSD to vaccinate teachers and schools staff within the district this year as students start to return to in-person learning. Educators and school staff in Colorado are now prioritized in Phase 1-B of the state's vaccination plan, Governor Jared Polis announced last week.
Cherry Creek Schools Superintendent Scott Siegfried said the shots pave the way for a safe return to in-person learning.
“I can’t require, I won’t require that employees get the vaccine, but I said once you have the opportunity, then we are going back to school full-time, all kids, all levels,” Siegfried said.
Elementary school students in the district are scheduled to return to in-person learning on Monday, Jan. 11. Middle and high school students will also return to in-person learning on that date, using an enhanced hybrid learning schedule, according to the district.
"I believe that we'll have probably all 9,000 employees through their second dose by the first of March," said Siegfried.
Centura Health provided the vaccinations at no-cost to the school district and employees.
"The vaccination of educators will help ensure that schools open successfully in January and remain open throughout the spring semester, bringing a close to the disruption in learning brought on by the global COVID-19 pandemic," Centura Health wrote in a news release.
There are 55,641 teachers in Colorado and about 4,000 administrative staff, according to the Colorado Department of Education (CDE).
Centura Health said they are in talks with other districts about similar vaccination plans, but so far, other area public school districts – like Denver, Thompson and Jeffco – are still working on their plans to vaccinate educators.
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