Roaring Fork Superintendent Rob Stein challenges locals in the community to beat the district’s vaccination rate of 90%
Only about 10% of Roaring Fork School District employees have not gotten the COVID-19 vaccination, Superintendent Rob Stein said during Wednesday’s board meeting.
The milestone comes as RFSD plans to change quarantine protocol following spring break. Two weeks after faculty members have received their second dose, if they are exposed to COVID-19 but aren’t experiencing symptoms, then they won’t be required to quarantine.
“We think that will help in reducing the number of closures, because really a few staff members out can close a school. It won’t reduce the numbers of students who have to quarantine or those disruptions to learning if the community rates rise, so we all have to continue to abide by most of the precautions even after we’ve been vaccinated,” Stein said.
Reasons behind declining the vaccine for the 10% of staff are at a wide range, Stein explained, but he said he suspects a lot of the hesitation comes from where these individuals get their news from regarding the vaccine. Without badgering them and continuing to respect their decisions, Stein said the district’s approach is to provide more information about the vaccine to those who have declined the options when they are able to.
“We feel obligated as an educational institution to continue to educate. And when a student says ‘I don’t want to learn’ we don’t give up. So we’re pro-learning and we’re pro educating about the vaccine and we’ll keep doing that and try to do it in effective ways,” Stein said.
Unvaccinated faculty won’t be asked to take any additional precautions, Stein said in a follow-up interview, however he said he anticipates some social awkwardness since getting staff vaccinated means more in-person meetings. Stein said he doesn’t know what it will look like if someone who declined the vaccine gets sick with COVID-19, or is attending a meeting where everyone else has gotten the vaccine. For now he said they plan to continue seeking guidance from local public health authorities on how to proceed.
“We’ll wait and figure that out along with everyone else over the next few months,” Stein said.
The district takes pride in how many faculty members have opted in for the vaccine, Stein said, and with a 90% rate in hand he said he would like to see members of the Roaring Fork Valley get vaccinated at a similar or higher rate.
“I will throw out a challenge to the medical community to outdo the numbers that we’ve achieved in our schools.”
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The Roaring Fork School District Board of Education candidates spoke to the public again on Wednesday in advance of November’s election.