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99.1% of Denver schools staff vaccinated, termination deadline looms for unvaccinated staff

Compliance means staff members have either received their COVID19 vaccine or received an approved exemption. Only 108 staff members are currently not in compliance.

DENVER — The clock is now ticking faster for Denver Public Schools (DPS) employees who are not vaccinated. If they do not get a vaccine, or an approved exemption by early January, they will lose their job on January 2, 2022.

The timeline is published on the DPS website.

Thursday night, the DPS Board of Education unanimously approved a Personnel Transaction Report, which included dismissals for employees who are non-compliant with the city of Denver’s public health order. Board members also recognized and applauded the vast majority of staff members who have been vaccinated.

On Thursday, DPS said 99.1% of staff was in compliance with the public health order, which Superintendent Dr. Alex Marrero called “incredible.” 

He also acknowledged the district’s 108 employee who remain out of compliance as of Thursday and said he hopes they choose to remain with DPS where they are wanted and needed.

“We understand this is a difficult conversation to have at home, difficult decision for some to make. But, overwhelmingly [it is] the right response rate that we were expecting. And we’re definitely in accordance with the public health order, as close to 100%.”

DPS like other districts is really struggling with staffing shortages this school year, and even moved a few schools to remote learning for a day or two this month to manage it.

Dr. Marrero said the district is planning for “contingencies” if DPS ends up losing another group of employees over the vaccine mandate. For parents worried what that might mean for their students, he predicts minimal disruptions to learning.

“In terms of day to day operations, not much [changes]. Schools will continue to function. Our students will be educated, will be well received, will be fed,” he said. “Potentially, and this is where it gets a little bit controversial, we may encounter some shifts in our transportation services in the spring semester.”

DPS provided this breakdown showing where the 108 non-compliant employees fit into district staffing (through their union representation):

  • 11 – AMLG, Amalgamated Transit Union (transportation)
  • 11 – CWOA, Communication Workers of America (custodians)
  • 6 – DCTA, Denver Classroom Teachers Association (teachers, SSPs, CTE, ESLI)
  • 12 – FOOD, Association of Food Services Employees
  • 34 – PARA, Denver Fed for Paraprofessionals
  • 34 - No union associated with position