DENVER (CBS4)– Denver Public Schools will not require students to get a COVID-19 vaccine, however, the district is planning for students to return to full-time in-person learning this fall. For the 2020-2021 school year, most DPS students spend some of the year on a remote learning plan.
“This is completely predicated on how quickly our community gets adolescents vaccinated and the family of our adolescent vaccinated,” Dr. Steven Federico, Denver Health said.READ MORE: 3 Dead In Olde Town Arvada Shooting, Including Arvada Police Officer Gordon Beesley, 1 Civilian, 1 Suspect
DPS leadership are hopeful FDA approval for the Pfizer vaccine for people ages 12-15 could be the key to keeping students and staff at school protected from the virus.
“In terms of which of the mitigation measures we will not be incorporating next school year, that remains to be seen,” Federico added.
Dr. Federico explains many of the COVID-19 protocols will likely be in place, with masks being the last measure to change. However, the latest plans are enough for some students to look forward to the fall.
“I’m excited about it, even though I’m usually not excited about shots,” Nathan Boberg said.
Boberg, 13, currently an eighth-grader has enjoyed learning remote, but there were some hang-ups.
“The other day, Mr. Stone forgot about us when we came back from lunch,” he recalled.READ MORE: 'Monumental Day': Jeremy Bloom Reacts To Supreme Court Ruling On Student-Athlete Payments
Already DPS estimates that 40% of its students between 16-18 have one shot. The district hopes once Pfizer gets approval for younger people it can put on clinics to get even more students vaccinated. However, some share the same hesitancy as adults.
“My body doesn’t respond well to it,” Briana Bracamontes said.
Bracamontes, 15, is a sophomore, she also knows the challenges of remote learning.
“It’s always been a struggle for me, so doing math online was really hard,” she told CBS4.
Yet Bracamontes is just not sold on the vaccine.
“If my school tells me that I should get it to make the people around me feel safe then I would reconsider it,” Bracamontes added.MORE NEWS: 40% Of Colorado COVID Cases Are New, More Transmissible Delta Variant, Health Officials Say
Parents CBS4 reached out to also voiced concern about giving the vaccine to their kids so young. Others expressed that they are torn about DPS asking families to decide between remote learning or in-person learning in the May 10 through June 4 timeframe. They’re concerned if something happens in June, such as a rise in cases or a new variant, if a student needs to switch back, their seat would be lost at their preferred school the following school year.