At 5:00 at night a call, email, and a text were sent out to 14 thousand Jeffco employees telling them that there were 200 extra doses and the first people to arrive would receive the vaccine for free. The teachers had to make it to the National Western Stock Show Complex by 6:00 pm at the latest in order to receive their first vaccination. Little did the Jeffco know that they would be causing mass hysteria in the Jeffco Community. Teachers were parking on the highway and making a run for it or other teachers parked in front of the building with their kids still left in the car just to receive this vaccine. After looking back on all the chaos that they caused, Jeffco realized that they could have done things differently and they sent out an apology to its employees and to SCL Health. It turns out they ended up giving around 500 vaccines instead of 200 vaccines according to 9News Denver. Here are some of our Chatfield Jeffco Teachers’ stories…
“You can say that I sprinted 200 yards, I definitely pulled my hamstring, there was an older woman with some sort of a limp that I ran past that said to me, ‘Really??!!’, but I ignored her, eye on the prize baby!! When I got in I had a temperature of 99.9, due to my sprint and the stocking cap I was wearing. But I got one!!! And I am BEYOND THRILLED!!!!! I just want to be back in school every day with all kids, and teachers being able to get vaccinated is a huge step towards this!”
“My experience was easy peasy. When I received the call and I told my wife she said ‘go!’ There was no consideration, no discussion, no checking google maps…just go.
It was honestly very liberating to have the shot. Seems like the first piece of good news in a long time..”
“I got the call at 5:03pm and I jumped in the car. I called Mrs. Stowe to see if she wanted to go with me but she did not answer. Then I called Ms. Lazzeri who answered her phone while being driven down the highway also headed to the National Western Complex. We talked for awhile and then my gas light went on alerting me to the fact that I only had 3 miles left before my tank was empty. I knew if I stopped to get gas I would never make it to get my vaccine before they were gone but I had no option. I got only 2 gallons of gas and got back on I-70. As I approached I-25 the traffic of Jeffco staff was backed up for miles. I did not join the line but rather went to the next exit. I hit two deadends in industrial areas and then asked Siri to help me find my destination. Siri took me way north and through many turns and that is when I ended up in a line of about only 10 cars at the Complex. They directed us in to a parking lot that was already full but I saw a very small space where I thought my minivan would fit. It didn’t. So I rolled my window down and asked a man if he would move his car over 3 feet. He kindly agreed and I was able to park. When I got out of my van I started running. I passed all of these teachers who were walking and talking. I am 54 years old and not in shape at the moment but I ducked under wire barriors and headed to Entrance 2 which was supposedly the fastest. The workers gave me a form to fill out and I immediately got in line and then filled out my form. Why many people were standing at tables to fill out there forms and not in the line I don’t quite understand. We were told that there were only 200 vaccines available on a first-come, first-serve basis so it was important to get in the line quickly. I was fortunate to get the vaccine and I truly feel “more protected” in my classroom which brings me a sense of relief. I am very sorry for the teachers who want the vaccine but have not been lucky enough to get it yet.”
“When I got to the exit for the colosseum/national western stock show on I-70 around 5:20 it was already a bit of a traffic jam. I realized everyone was trying to turn right and my navigation said to turn left, so I did. I got a spot in the very back of the parking lot and did some fast walking up (I don’t run) to the building. I was worried that I would be too late, and I was worried that I would be rejected because my teacher ID is from the 2019-2020 school year. But when I got through the initial screening, all I felt was relief. I silently cried as I watched the teachers around me get their shots. I would do anything for my students, as I know all the teachers at Chatfield would…and teaching in person, during a pandemic, with pre-existing conditions has shown that. I didn’t realize how much I would feel (literally- my arm felt like it was going to fall off the next morning) and how much weight was on my shoulders. It was an emotional moment for sure!”
I got the call, ran upstairs, put on shoes, and left. I later realized I had sweat pants on and no socks. But I live close enough to the Complex that I saw none of the traffic jams, the mad sprinting, or anything like that.
“5pm Saturday evening brought excitement and exhaustion. I was making the finishing touches on our musical cast list, when a text went out from Jeffco Schools announcing 200 available COVID vaccines at the National Western Complex, first come first served, closes at 6pm. I read it twice, grabbed my car keys and headed to I-25. I live a stone’s throw from Highlands Ranch so I was not the most hopeful as I stepped on the gas.
No major traffic and I-25, which is a miracle in itself. Listening to my navigation system tell me to take I70, I could see a line of cars starting to back up and nothing but red taillights in the distance. I quickly exited onto a side street, made several turns, and u-turns to find myself in the adjacent parking lot to the complex. I parked, grabbed my wallet and school ID, a blanket, and two coats since I had no idea if the line would be inside or out.
I could see about 50 people walking to the doors and I thought ‘no way, Mindy you’re a marathoner, and you better RUN!’ I heard lots of foul words as I passed folks all heading to the same destination. But if you have the mean, use it. First come, first served.
I got into the door, was handed a form to fill out, and found a short line towards the back. I completed the form using my arm filled with blankets and coats, was issued an armband then told to sit in a chair. That’s when another text went out that if you were not in the building already, you would not get a vaccine. From my chair, I could see the nurse and aide slowly pushing a medical cart filled with vaccines towards me, stopping at the three people to my left. I looked at the clock which read 6:02pm. I thought they would turn that chart around any second and call it done. I held my breath and smiled at all the other wide-eyed Jeffco employees to my right thinking the same thing. It finally was my turn. I proudly rolled up my sleeve, got my shot, and exhaled a huge feeling of relief. Part one, done. 30 more days and it’s all over!
I found my dear friend, Mrs. Gunkel, afterward. We took this fun picture and drove back home. I felt I was just in an elimination round of the Amazing Race (which I watch while I run on my treadmill before work)! But I was moving on to the next leg, and had the sore arm to prove it!”
Chatfield was lucky enough to have over 10 staff members vaccinated on February 6, 2021. This great opportunity was a huge step in the right direction to getting kids back into the building and getting things back to normal.