BY MAIRE O’NEILL
The Los Alamos School unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday evening calling for educators to receive COVID-19 vaccinations in preparation for expansion of in-person learning.
Supt. Kurt Steinhaus told the board that vaccinations are a moving target.
“I am pleased to announce that we now have 41 percent of our staff that have received vaccinations – a total of 260 people,” he said. “I want the board and everybody to know that we have worked very, very hard and looked everywhere we could to find opportunities for vaccines. We even found an opportunity on Saturday here in town where we had 16 of our staff members get vaccinations, and that’s 16 more, even though it’s a small number.”
Steinhaus said he was also happy to report that more than 96 percent of staff are willing to get a vaccine which is very high percentage. He noted that during the preparation for the board meeting, he saw many public comments and some of the resolution addresses those.
The resolution asked the governor and the Department of Health to show clear support for the health and safety of the community and to immediately prioritize vaccinations for educators.
Board Vice Chair Ellen Ben-Naim said she thinks the board has an ethical and moral obligation to pursue the vaccination of educators as fast and furiously as it can. Board member Dawn Jalbert said she hoped the board could proceed with the resolution and get staff vaccinated as quickly as possible. Board member Steve Boerigter said he is 100 percent in support of the resolution.
“I think it’s excellent that our school leadership has taken the time and the energy to create the resolution and move it forward. I often feel that maybe we have a collectively failed as a state to fully appreciate the impact on young people here and in times forward with public education. Public education is absolutely foundational to our democracy as we know it and it’s important that we protect our teachers as much as we can to ensure that we can have the most effective public education system, especially for those whose background is less supportive of the educational process,” he said.
Board member Chris Bernstein said she is grateful to the district for taking the action and being proactive in trying to make change.
Board president Melanie Colgan echoed the comments of her fellow board members.
“This is the first item on our agenda tonight. I feel it’s very important that we address the safety of our teachers first,” she said.
Colgan commended Steinhaus and Asst. Supt. Jennifer Guy for their efforts to find vaccines for teachers from the moment they knew a vaccine had been approved.
“I would like to applaud them for their continued efforts to put our teachers’ safety first,” she said.
Colgan later noted that many other school boards across the state are proposing similar resolutions and are hoping that as a collective effort it will all go to the governor and help get things moving along for vaccination of teachers.