At least 96% of Aurora Public Schools employees are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus after the district required them to get COVID-19 shots this summer, Superintendent Rico Munn said Wednesday.
Aurora Public Schools mandated the vaccines after federal regulators fully approved Pfizer’s two-dose COVID-19 shot in August, making it one of the only school districts in Colorado with such a requirement.
“It’s become clear as we’ve gone through this COVID crisis that we have to do everything we can to protect that in-person learning environment,” Munn said during a news conference with Gov. Jared Polis.
He did not know how many total employees were fully immunized, saying that the number is expected to increase as some staff members are at least partially vaccinated. Some employees have medical or religious exemptions.
The deadline for staff to comply with the mandate is Thursday, Munn said.
The district has about 38,000 students and about 6,000 employees.
Denver Public Schools employees also are required to get vaccinated against the virus, but under a city mandate. DPS Superintendent Alex Marrero last week said 87% of the district’s employees were fully vaccinated and another 3% had received exemptions.
During the news conference, Polis continued to urge Coloradans to get vaccinated, and for those who already are, to get booster shots. He said that of the 922 people hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19 on Wednesday, 710 are unvaccinated. Colorado has not had this many people hospitalized with confirmed cases of the virus since January, he said.
There are no Coloradans hospitalized because of side effects from the vaccines, Polis added.
Colorado is approaching intensive-care bed capacity. Overall, 1,018 people were hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 and there were only 149 ICU beds open on Wednesday.
“We are concerned with the increase in spread,” Polis said. “Everybody should be very careful.”