Roughly two-thirds of Montezuma-Cortez School District educators and staff have opted to receive their first shot of the coronavirus vaccine at a clinic to be held before the end of the month.
Earlier this month, the state moved in to Phase 1B.2 of its vaccine distribution. In Phase 1B.2, Coloradans ages 65 to 69, K-12 education and child care workers, and a small number of state government officials are allowed to make an appointment to get their first shot of the vaccine. Vaccine for educators and staff comes to the school district from the Montezuma County Public Health Department. A team of nurses from the health department will administer the shots.
School health services officials recently circulated a survey to teachers and staff to determine their interest in receiving the vaccine. Over 250 of an estimated 450 total staff will take part in the clinics, according to Superintendent Lori Haukeness. Charter schools are also included in this effort.
The second dose for teachers is scheduled to take place near the end of March. The exact dates for the clinics could not be disclosed in order to avoid any potential security issues.
According to Montezuma-Cortez School District Health Services Director Susan Ciccia, there are no employment repercussions for anyone who elects not to take the vaccine.
Teachers who do get both of their shots, in addition to a buffer of two weeks, will then no longer have to quarantine if somebody at the school tests positive.
“That’s the main advantage,” Ciccia said.
All layers of protection instituted before the vaccine will remain in place at least until the end of the school year. These policies include wearing masks, keeping students in tight cohorts and testing teachers twice per week for the virus.
“This will protect the educator, but there’s not good data yet that the educator can’t still pass it along to someone else, even if they don’t get sick,” Ciccia said.