AURORA | Aurora Public Schools is the first school district in the Denver metropolitan area to require teachers and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for the fall school year.
In a letter sent Tuesday by Superintendent Rico Munn, he said the mandate is subject to the US Food and Drug Administration fully approving one or more of the vaccines.
Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are currently under an “emergency clearing” that allows the FDA to approve medical treatments for public health emergencies faster than normal.
Vaccinations cannot be prescribed as part of the emergency permit.
“This action is in line with our belief that the science of COVID-19 and vaccines is clear and compelling, complies with federal, state and local health guidelines, and supports our goal of becoming full again – person works and learns as quickly as possible – and as far as possible, ”wrote Munn.
Employees can apply for exceptions under federal and state law, the letter says.
A district representative did not immediately respond to a Sentinel query about whether employees who do not qualify for religious or medical exemption but are not vaccinated can continue to work for the district, but said so in an interview with 9News Munn in this case they choose not to work for APS.
In a statement, Amie Baca-Oehlert, president of the Colorado Education Association, expressed her support for the APS decision.
“We believe it is wise for districts like Aurora Public Schools to take steps to protect our students and educators as we plan the 2021-22 school year,” she said. “We believe and have said from the start that a COVID-19 vaccination is only one of many components to safely resume full-time personal learning. We also want to ensure that educators and students are given the opportunity to work with their districts and that special arrangements can be made if the educator or student is unable to receive the vaccine due to medical or religious exceptions. “
A representative from the Aurora Education Association did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but a post on the union’s Facebook page said, “CEA and AEA believe that vaccines are an important component of the safety of students and educators, but they want them to that districts work with employees when employees cannot get the vaccine for medical or religious reasons. “