DENVER (CBS4) – Educators and senior community members came to Clayton Early Learning Friday to visit a Denver Health mobile vaccination clinic to improve access for some of the people hardest hit by COVID-19. Prioritizing teachers and other school staff not only helps keep the classroom in a safe place, but also allows families to keep their routine as much as possible during the pandemic, according to organizers.

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“I’m so happy, I’m really glad we’re getting the vaccine so we can get back to normal,” said Debi Nelson, a professional development coach at Clayton. She received her first dose of the vaccine on Friday.

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“Children have to have normal days and normal classrooms and at some point be able to see their teachers’ faces again.”

The clinic vaccinated 170 educators and another 30 people aged 65 and over. Clayton Early Learning is located in northeast Denver and is made up of underserved color communities with multi-generational families.

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“We’re trying to increase the equity of vaccinations by bringing them into the community,” said Mackenzie Holdershaw, manager of a nursing program at Denver Health. “The freedom you can see is extraordinary, nothing like it.”

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Clayton has 200 students on campus with an early Head Start or Head Start program for children from birth to 5 years of age. All of their students are at or below the poverty line. You also work with 300 children in home or community programs.

“It is critical to the health and safety of our educators and the confidence of our parents who send their children to study with us every day,” said Becky Crowe, President and CEO of Clayton Early Learning.

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Crowe said getting her staff into an early wave of vaccination was an essential part of getting them back to “normal” for their families. Their staff commit to seeing their teachers and learning the language properly, especially for children at a young age.

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“Our childcare workers not only look after children, they make it possible for all of our families to get back to work, and they were such an important piece of the puzzle during the pandemic,” she said.