By Dillon Thomas

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – The school board of one of the state’s largest districts has unanimously approved a measure which calls for educators to be among the first Coloradans vaccinated for COVID-19. Poudre School District’s seven board members all approved a proposal by the superintendent to call on lawmakers to prioritize all district employees before the general population.

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Currently, most prioritized professionals include healthcare workers and other first responders.

Christophe Febvre, President of the PSD school board told CBS4 he hoped that other school districts around the state would also join the movement, encouraging Gov. Jared Polis’ office to include educators and school staff as worth of the first phase of vaccinations.

“Everything around us is being impacted by the schools and their closures,” Febvre told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas.

Febvre said the district has more than 4,000 employees that should be considered for the prioritization, including bus drivers, teachers, kitchen workers, security guards and more. He believed offering a non-mandatory vaccination early to school staff across the state would alleviate pressures COVID-19 has placed on other industries and people.

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“The continuity and the quality of education is being deeply impacted,” Febvre said. “Parents are being jolted. We have staff members who are afraid to come to work because they have their own medical concerns.”

Kristen Draper, a director of the school board, said students are eager to return to class, including many who may not have enjoyed it before the pandemic.

“They are like, ‘I want to go in, I want that social interaction,'” Draper said. “They’re looking for that ability to learn. But, also the ability to learn with other people.”

The board hoped Polis’ task force would respond to their measure by including educators, and other school staff, on the prioritized list. Febvre said he believed his board was the first in the state to adopt such a measure, though others may have done so quietly through the Colorado Association of School Boards.

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Febvre and Draper said returning students to classroom learning would increase educational opportunities and quality while also alleviating some pressures left on parents with stay-at-home learning.

“This is for our kids, and really for our community as well,” Febvre said. “We’re seeking every possible way to get kids back into buildings consistently. Vaccinating our staff would very likely have a big impact on improving that possibility.”

Dillon Thomas