Over 60% of St. Vrain Valley School District employees who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine have been vaccinated or are scheduled to get vaccinated, Superintendent Don Haddad said during Wednesday night’s school board meeting.
Out of the 3,934 SVVSD employees who are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine during the Phase 1B.2 of the Colorado vaccination plan, 701 have received the vaccine. An additional 1,473 staff members have now been invited to be vaccinated by the UCHealth and Nexterra systems. Nearly 300 employees have indicated not needing or wanting the vaccine, according to Haddad.
Gov. Jared Polis on Jan. 29 announced Colorado school staff would be able to receive the coronavirus vaccine starting Monday, including preschool through 12th grade teachers, child care workers, paraprofessionals, bus drivers, food service workers, safety workers and others who provide services in public schools.
Coordinated efforts between the district and community partners have moved the vaccination process for SVVSD staff “considerably way ahead of schedule,” Haddad said. The district expected to have only 500 employees vaccinated by the end of February.
“From the (pool of SVVSD staff members who are) eligible, we are down to now 1,446 (employees) left,” he said. “There was a time when we didn't think that we would even begin this process until March and so we are moving through very quickly.”
The district has received support from Safeway Pharmacy and UCHealth since the initial vaccination stages and, most recently, from Nexterra, Haddad said, adding the district has created a high functioning system to work with staff and partners.
“We are hearing a lot of positive feedback,” he said. “People are getting contacted, they’ve done a great job of getting registered.”
The district worked on identifying and prioritizing a list of employee groups eligible for the vaccine under Phase 1B.2 and last week handed over employee contact information to the medical partners to begin the registration process, according to Deputy Superintendent Jackie Kapushion.
“(The district) secured a … very strong provider to be able deliver the vaccinations, one where we had a lot of confidence. We already had a strong partnership with UCHealth … They believed that they could secure those vaccines for us in a timely manner,” she said. “(SVVSD) has been prepping communication and clear direction to employees (about) how to sign up for the vaccination.”
The SVVSD human resources department created a system to support all employees having difficulties setting up an account with UCHealth. Also the district’s communications team has been sending out information about the process and timeframe for appointments, she said.
“It’s very, very important that within 48 hours, if you receive an invitation that you respond to that invitation or you go down to the (Phase) 1B.2 queue,” she said. “We don’t want that to happen.”
Wednesday morning, Kapushion said SVVSD learned of the 2,200 employees who set up an account with UCHealth for a vaccination, 44% received a link for an appointment, which was the highest out of all the metro area school districts with which UCHealth is working.
“(This) tells us that our communication systems and our system with UCHealth and that the flow of communication and the ways in which we are asking employees to respond is working,” she said. “It speaks to the power of the team in St. Vrain and the urgency with which we operate and get ahead of things and I think it also speaks very symbolically to the way we care about our employees and put their health care needs front and center in this pandemic.”
As of Wednesday, 23 students and six staff members were reported as active COVID cases and 246 students and 26 employees were under quarantine, according to Haddad.
“Right now the numbers are … much more favorable than they were,” he said of Boulder County COVID cases and hospitalizations, as well as SVVSD trends. “(We) will continue to watch them as (University of Colorado Boulder) is coming back in in-person and we’ll see what the trends look like.”