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Chaffee County Public Health (CCPH) is moving ahead with plans for vaccination clinics for school and licensed child care facility staff. On Friday, February 12th, it will host a COVID-19 vaccination clinic specifically for licensed childcare providers and K-12 school staff.

The move comes after pleas during the county’s twice-weekly COVID-19 Roundtables, by the superintendents of both the Buena Vista and Salida school districts, which have been operating as much as possible with in-person learning for the entire school year.

Cassondra Franco, RN, BSN, Clinical Coordinator for Chaffee County Public Health shows off her vaccination site. CCPH courtesy photo.

By prioritizing in-person learning, the county’s school districts have bucked the statewide realities of much larger school districts, which have remained primarily at remote learning status. Both school districts have worked closely with CCPH on COVID-19 testing throughout the pandemic, responding quickly when student exposure occurred. Both have reiterated that cases have not been the result of spread within the schools, but in outside community exposure.

“Getting our county’s school staff and licensed child care providers vaccinated is a significant milestone in our local pandemic response,” said Chaffee County Public Health Director Andrea Carlstrom.  “Throughout the pandemic, CCPH has worked closely with school administrators and staff to support a successful, in-person 20-21 academic season.  While CCPH anticipated the approval of vaccinating these groups in Phase 2 later this Spring, being able to immunize them sooner is a huge step in the right direction to protect our county from the virus.”

Between the two school district staffs, there appear to be around 511 people eligible for vaccination in this phase. (2oo teachers, counselors and administrative support staff and 30 substitute teachers for Buena Vista and 251 teachers, counselors, administrative support staff and 30 substitute teachers for Salida.)

“It’s encouraging to hear that our educators are finally being prioritized,” commented Monarch Mountain CEO Randy Stroud during the COVID-19 Round table this week. “It’s time.”

That vaccination of school staff is happening now, instead of the late spring time frame originally announced,  in direct response to the Governor’s announcement last week that beginning on Feb. 8, the next groups to be vaccinated are the school staffs and the 65+ and older population.  The clinic is meant for primary child care providers, not household members of private licensed child care providers.

To plan accordingly, registration will be required.  General information can be found at, including Frequently Asked Questions and paperwork to be filled out ahead of time.

A private registration link will be shared with the groups mentioned above upon request.  Employment verification will take place ahead of the clinic.

Last week, the Governor also announced that “frontline essential workers” and people 16-64 of age with at least two comorbidities will be eligible at the beginning of March with a target date of March 5.  Details regarding the occupations included in “frontline essential workers” are forthcoming.