Teachers and school staff should be a priority for receiving the coronavirus vaccine once it’s available, Poudre School District’s Board of Education resolved during Tuesday night’s board meeting.
A resolution that supports prioritizing teachers and staff in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, once available, passed unanimously.
Giving staff, teachers and administrators high priority could help ensure schools “can operate effectively with in-person education,” board member Kristen Draper read from the resolution during the meeting. “Vaccinating teachers and school staff is vital in the return to in-person learning.”
Board member Rob Petterson voiced his support for the resolution, saying it’s “critical” school staff be considered priority for the COVID-19 vaccine.
“As we’ve indicated, staff shortages are one of the reasons that we’re in remote learning right now,” Petterson said. “The sooner we can get the staff and, frankly, eventually the community vaccinated, the better off we’re all going to be in terms of our education and our economy.”
Draper said the resolution does not just include teachers, but also bus drivers, nutrition workers, paraprofessionals and all other support staff who are also in school buildings helping students.
“It’s not just the teachers, it’s the support staff and its a tremendous number of people that support our students that we are asking for as well for this COVID-19 vaccine prioritization,” Draper said. “… I think when we think schools, we think teachers, and we need to be thinking all of that support staff that goes with that.”
Petterson asked to ensure elected officials, including Gov. Jared Polis and local legislators, receive a copy of the resolution.
Board President Christophe Febvre said he’s already discussed this resolution with Rep. Jeni Arndt and she’s fully on board with it.
A group of community members rallied Tuesday outside the building where the board meeting was held to show their support for in-person learning.
“Coming in this evening and seeing protestors — people, parents and kids — out in front of our building begging us to open our schools was very moving,” Febvre said. “Certainly, something none of us could’ve dreamt of a year ago.”
In the past year, it’s become clear how vital education is to the community, country and world, and teachers and school staff are essential frontline workers, Febvre said.
“It’s just absolutely critical we get kids back in the buildings,” Febvre said. “… Whatever we can do to get these kids back into the buildings, I think the community should know that we are after that. We are trying.”
Superintendent Sandra Smyser and employee association presidents also support this, according to the resolution. Smyser thanked the board for its support.
Sady Swanson covers public safety, K-12 education and more throughout Northern Colorado. You can send your story ideas to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @sadyswan. Support her work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.