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Vaccinated Colorado teachers won’t have to quarantine after exposure to COVID-19, governor says

Gov. Jared Polis said he expects the change to give school leaders more “operational flexibility"

Jessi Puga, a nurse at Pine Ridge Elementary School, receives the coronavirus vaccine on Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, at Parker Adventist Hospital. Cherry Creek School District is partnering with Centura Health to vaccinate school staff, though the partnership has drawn criticism from some Colorado school district leaders who say it creates inequities. (Handout)

This story was originally published by Chalkbeat Colorado. More at chalkbeat.org.

After Colorado teachers and child care workers are fully vaccinated, they will no longer have to quarantine after exposure to COVID, Gov. Jared Polis and State Epidemiologist Rachel Herlihy said Tuesday.

It’s still not entirely clear when educators will be vaccinated on a large scale. The Denver Post reported Monday that Colorado National Guard Brig. Gen. Scott Sherman, who is heading up vaccine distribution, said teachers and child care workers would get priority ahead of other essential workers in the next phase of vaccination.

COVID-19 IN COLORADO

The latest from the coronavirus outbreak in Colorado:

  • MAP: Cases and deaths in Colorado.
  • TESTINGHere’s where to find a community testing site. The state is now encouraging anyone with symptoms to get tested.
  • VACCINE HOTLINE: Get up-to-date information.

>> FULL COVERAGE

When that will be depends largely on supply from the federal government, Polis said, adding that he hopes to release more details later this week.

“We believe the continuity of education, of child care, is a linchpin of society,” Polis said. “We want to make sure that even if there is another spike, we can maintain in-person learning.”

Herlihy said the new quarantine policy will apply to people in low-risk settings who are two weeks past their second shot of the two-dose vaccines. Schools and child care centers are considered low risk. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are 94% to 95% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID infection in people who have received both doses.

Not requiring vaccinated teachers to quarantine would have limited impact this school year, as most teachers won’t have full immunity until sometime in April and most Colorado schools end the academic year in May. Nonetheless, Polis said he expects the change to give school leaders more “operational flexibility” in a state where frequent disruptions from quarantines have sometimes led entire schools and districts to switch to remote learning.

Read more at chalkbeat.org.


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