Headlines March 1, 2021
Colorado Moves to Next Phase of Vaccination Plan
Colorado will move into Phase 1B.3 of its COVID-19 vaccination plan this Friday. About 1 million people will become eligible to receive a vaccine including those who are over 60 years old, and frontline workers in grocery stores and agriculture.
Governor Jared Polis announced the move into the next phase on Friday.
Also starting the end of this week, people age 16-59 with two or more pre-existing conditions such as cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, diabetes, or others will be eligible.
9News reports that People in the 60+ age group should go through their healthcare provider or a health system. State officials said they will provide an update this week with more information about the best way for this age group to sign up.
Meanwhile, the state’s goal of vaccinating 70% of those over 70 years old by the end of February was met in at least 21 counties in Colorado.
In Denver on Saturday, National Jewish Health held a vaccination clinic geared toward this group. Denver7 reports that some people over 70 have had trouble obtaining a vaccination appointment.
Over the weekend a third vaccine was approved–this one made by Johnson and Johnson. It requires only one shot. Governor Polis released a statement saying that the approval was great news.
Rally Against Standardized Tests
Parents and students gathered at Denver’s Manual High School on Sunday afternoon for a socially-distanced rally against state standardized testing, also known as CMAS, which stands for Colorado Measures of Academic Success.
The protesters want students and parents to opt-out of this year’s test. The pandemic has disrupted traditional learning, and Denver7 reports that some parents feel now is just not the time to test kids.
Students would have to go to school for the test regardless of remote learning status. It will be up to each school to decide what to assign students to do if they opt-out.
School Board Director Tay Anderson said that data collected by the test won’t be helpful, because teachers know how their students are doing, and they went to school to be educators, not test proctors. He expects well over 50% of the district will not test. He says the goal is to send a message to lawmakers.
State legislators have proposed a bill that would call on Colorado’s department of education to request a waiver from the federal government of the requirement of statewide standardized testing this year. So far, seven states have already requested a waiver and at least six others are in the process of doing so.
Denver Starts New Method to Deal with Complaints about Encampments
The City of Denver has started its new approach to handling complaints about local homeless encampments.
Now those calls will be handled by what the city is calling the Early Intervention Team instead of the Police Department.
A spokesperson for the city told 9News that the intention of the change is to reach people experiencing homelessness while the groupings are small.
The team will be able to work with unhoused individuals and match them up with resources that can help them get off the streets.
The city is expecting to send about 25 cases to the new team per day.
Virtual Series on Talking to Young People about Racism to Start
A virtual series aimed at “Talking to Children About Race” will start tonight.
The Daily Camera reports that organizers originally wanted to set up a book study and author speaker series for teachers in the Boulder Valley and St. Vrain Valley School Districts. But, based on feedback, they agreed it was too much to ask teachers to take on during the pandemic.
Instead, there will now be the series featuring Rosemarie Allen, the president and CEO of the Institute for Racial Equity & Excellence.
Sessions are open to the public and are targeted to adults who want to learn more about how to talk to children and teens about race.
The series–which was originally pushed by Erie parent Alica Graves¬–was organized in conjunction with the town of Erie, and the Boulder Valley and St. Vrain Valley school districts which will provide education credit to participating teachers.
Each session starts at 6:30 p.m. and will be aimed at talking to a different age group. The first is this evening about talking to preschoolers. Then on Tuesday for elementary school; March 15 for middle school, and March 17 for high school.
The sessions will be televised on the Erie YouTube channel.
Boulder County Public Health Seeks Input on Second Hand Smoke
Boulder County Public Health is inviting people who reside or own a business in unincorporated areas to join officials in a Monday night virtual meeting to discuss secondhand smoke protections.
Officials say the county needs feedback from residents and businesses about updates to county smoking restrictions inside, and immediately outside, the entrances to businesses, and publicly accessed facilities located outside cities and towns.
County spokesperson Angela Simental said that that department has “a goal of creating equity in smoke-free protections across the county” by updating the “smoke-free code,” which has not been revised since 2004.
People can join the meeting at 6 p.m. this evening via Zoom