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Teachers show frustration over COVID-19 vaccine distribution

On the first day back to class, the Jefferson County Education Association rallied at district headquarters.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colorado — At the close of the first day of a new semester, teachers come together in front of the Jefferson County Schools Education Center in Golden to make a statement.

"You know, just like our communities, there's a lot of confusion," Brooke Williams said.

Williams is president of the Jefferson County Education Association. She said teachers are frustrated with the changing schedule of when they can start getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

"We want to be in-person with our kids more than ever, but we want to do that safely and the vaccine just gives us more hope," Williams said.

On Monday, Cherry Creek Schools announced plans to start vaccinating teachers right away, but Wednesday afternoon, the district issued a letter stating that the timeline will be pushed back in accordance with changes made by the state. The new plan has teachers starting vaccinations in March.

"It just doesn't seem to fall in line with the push to reopen schools," Williams said. "It's important for all frontline workers to get the vaccine."

Denver Public Schools sent families a letter echoing the new March timeline for teachers. Boulder County Public Health sent communications indicating that the limited vaccine supply requires that healthcare workers and the elderly receive vaccinations first. But, Boulder County Public Health did state that school health staff workers will get vaccinated before then.  

Douglas County Schools said some of its staff has received invitations from Centura Health to be vaccinated. The district said any employees 70 or older and employees that provide health-related services would be offered first. Those vaccinations would take place by the end of February, the district said. All other staff is being asked to schedule their vaccines for March 1 or later, the district said.

Joe Ferdani with Adams 12 Five Star Schools said health staff are being vaccinated and the district is also working to get staff members older than 70 years old inoculated, as well.

Cameron Bell with JeffCo Schools said the district is working with the local health department on a distribution plan.

"I would really like to see a transparent and equitable process with clearer lines of communication," Williams said.

Williams said she would like to see a clear plan of when teachers can expect to have their turn.

"Because community health and safety is school health and safety," Williams said.

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