DENVER (CBS4) – Reactions to Mayor Michael Hancock’s announcement of a vaccine requirement for City of Denver employees included surprise, confusion and relief earlier this week. The new health order applies to all city workers, as well as people who work in hospitals, correctional facilities, schools, and other group settings.
The deadline to be fully vaccinated is Sept. 30.READ MORE: I-70 Eastbound Closed At Denver West After Commercial Vehicle Strikes Bridge
Citing the surging Delta variant, Hancock announced the policy Monday, catching some off guard.
“Yesterday was a big surprise to us,” said Rob Gould, president of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA).
Gould said the organization has urged members to get vaccinated for months, but stopped short of calling for a mandate. He said he and other members still have a lot of questions about how things will work under the new health order.
“Mandates tend to close down discussion, they don’t tend to open it up,” Gould said. “I think the challenges that we have are what does that mean? If a person doesn’t want to get vaccinated, does that mean they lose their job? Do we have other opportunities for them?”
Neither Denver Public Schools nor the Department of Public Safety, which includes Denver Police, Denver Fire, Denver 911, Denver Sheriff, and more, were as surprised by the announcement, confirming they were involved in discussions.
Spokespeople for both departments tell CBS4 details on enforcement are a work in progress. Until now, the two major city employers have not been required to track vaccination rates of staff.READ MORE: Robert Killis, CSU Pueblo Student Arrested After Detectives Find Large Cache Of Weapons, Ammunition In Vehicle, Apartment
“We know vaccinations are the key, it’s just how do we go about doing it?” Gould asked.
According to Gould, DCTA will meet with the DPS and other city departments to come up with those answers, as well as ways to ease the concerns of staff still hesitant to get the shot.
“What can we do to make sure and have those conversations about what’s the importance of it, how you can do it,” Gould said.
He says ultimately, staff share the same goal of keeping kids in the classroom.
“Vaccinations, masks, we need to do it so we can maintain the safety in the classroom.”
CBS4 also asked several departments if they’ve seen resignations since the announcement.MORE NEWS: 5280 Trail Would Connect Neighborhoods In Denver's Downtown Core
The Department of Public Safety said no. DPS has had about 43, but said that’s in line with this time of year, and none cited the new health order.