Hundreds of Denver Public Schools educators, support staff receive COVID-19 vaccine

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DENVER — Hundreds of Denver Public Schools educators and support staff received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday.

The mass vaccination clinic was a partnership between DPS and Denver Health. It was held at Denver Health’s new Outpatient Medical Center.

The goal was to begin vaccinating DPS staff members who work at schools located in communities hit hard by COVID-19.

Among those scheduled to be vaccinated was high school theater teacher Bennie Palko, who teaches at Strive Prep – Rise High School.

She said when state leaders clarified where educators stood when it came to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, she was thrilled.

“You feel seen, you feel valued. You finally feel like all of the hours reinventing the thing that you have done for over a decade is finally
being recognized,” said Palko.

That feeling returned when she received an email from DPS telling her she’d be getting the vaccine within a week.

“There’s an actual legitimate plan of how it’s going to happen,” she said.

Once inside of the Outpatient Medical Center, the process of getting the vaccine moved quickly.

Palko walked in, checked in, filled out her COVID-19 vaccination card and was administered the shot.

Afterward, she waited for 10 minutes to pass and was allowed to go home.

She said she hopes once more members of the community are vaccinated she’s able to get back to teaching her students like before.

“Balancing and making sure that you’re serving everyone and that’s our job as teachers. Our job is to serve all of our kids and all of our parents and communities,” she said.