Nelson, who works at Bryant-Webster Dual language school in northwest Denver, is among the dozens of educators and parents who have long called for more protections in schools.
Teachers and childcare workers will move up in Colorado’s plan for vaccine distribution. Gov. Jared Polis announced that Pre-K thru 12 educators and licensed childcare workers can get vaccinated starting Feb. 8.
The plan includes full-time and substitute teachers, bus, food counselors, administrative, safety and other support services offered inside schools. The announcement comes as more school districts return to in-person learning.
“It’s been a joy in some regards, but it has also been tense at times to think about the possibility of getting infected and the possibility of bringing home an infection to my daughter or wife,” fourth grade teacher Alex Nelson said.
Some have organized protests outside district headquarters and walk-ins to try and bring attention to their cause.
The governor’s announcement, Nelson says, is a big win for them.
“It feels like a big sense of relief to have that vaccine protection to be at school and imagining the moment, because it hasn’t happened yet where I won’t be quite so concerned about my own safety that I can focus on the safety of others,” he said.
Some educators still have questions about the process.
“Is that the first dose, all shots administered? I still have questions myself about what this will look like,” Anna De Witt said.
De Witt is a French teacher at North High School who went back inside her building for the first time this week. She says there are other safety issues that still need to be addressed.
“The concern still remains that students are coming into in-person learning. They are not vaccinated yet and we don’t know when they will be and their families smatter, too,” she said.
De Witt says they plan to hold walk-ins on both Feb. 1 and 2. A similar event happened this week at East High School. They want high-grade masks for students, a nurse in every school and would like to see a pause put on high-stakes testing.
The governor says teachers and staff in those eligible supporting roles will go to their employer for information about how to get vaccinated. While most districts are still working on plans, Denver Public Schools says they have partnered with Children’s Hospital Colorado.