Re-2 encouraging more staffers, teachers to get vaccinated
Not every teacher at the Garfield Re-2 school teacher has opted to get their COVID-19 vaccinations, according to an administrator.
While giving a presentation regarding online learning during the April 14 school board meeting, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Julie Knowles said just half of the teachers at Re-2 have been vaccinated.
The district, however, said there’s no way of tracking just how many teachers have so far been vaccinated because it is optional.
Across the county, the Roaring Fork School District reported in February that 90% of their staff were fully vaccinated.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention does, however, encourage workplace vaccination.
“I can’t tell you how many people are vaccinated,” district spokesperson Theresa Hamilton said. “I think the statement that was made in the school board meeting is just a general assumption.”
There are no local, state or federal laws requiring anyone to get their COVID-19 vaccination. Instead, it’s been a district-by-district conversation, Hamilton said.
Re-2, however, which has been one of few districts in the state to remain open since August 2020, has continued to follow COVID-19 guidelines put in place by Garfield County Public Health.
“All focus all year was to keep schools open,” Hamilton said. “and we’ve said through this process we’d adhere to state and local guidelines.”
Protocols have included masking requirements, 6-foot distancing, cohort classes and quarantining.
Throughout the year, the district has seen over 800 students and staff temporarily pivot to online learning due to possible exposure to COVID-19.
“We certainly have encouraged our staff to get vaccinations,” Hamilton said. “ But we’re not doing any sort of record-keeping.”
Data provided by the Garfield County Public Health Office show, as of April 24, 18,234 people have received their second COVID-19 dose while 24,874 have received their first. That means 40% of the county’s eligible population has been vaccinated. The county’s population is 60,061.
In Colorado, one of the leading states in the nation for vaccine rollouts at 1.64 million people, teachers and childcare workers fell under Phase 1B.2 category of vaccination eligibility. The state is already providing vaccinations to anyone who falls under Phase 2 of the vaccination process. This includes the general public of people 16 or older.
Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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