Durango educators prepare to receive COVID-19 vaccine

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DURANGO, C.O.— More teachers and staff in the Durango 9-R School District are getting ready to receive their COVID-19 vaccine this weekend.

Colorado state officials recently expanded its COVID vaccine eligibility to include teachers.

"It is critical to have our schools open and also assure the safety of staff and so being able to offer our clinic to get everybody in, and vaccinating is very exciting to us,” said Julie Popp, a spokesperson for 9-R.

In addition to teachers and staff, phase 1B.2 of Colorado’s vaccine rollout includes people who are 65 years and older, and child care workers.

"A number of about 450 staff that will go through the clinic this weekend,” Popp said.

Popp said an additional number of staff are scheduled to be vaccinated next weekend if they want it.

9-R is currently bringing back students for in-person learning in phases.

"Now our elementary kids are four days a week in person, and our secondary kids as well in middle school,” she said. “We are keeping our Wednesdays as remote learning days at this time for increased disinfection and cleaning procedures, as well as to support our local health authorities in decreasing contact tracing needs. High schools have a little bit of a different schedule. They’re doing four days, but only half day.”

La Plata County was recently moved up to Level Blue and can open schools for five days a week, however district officials have not gone that far due to constantly changing levels.