Colorado plans to dramatically expand COVID-19 testing in schools next year, even as restrictions lift – Colorado Springs, Colorado

Colorado plans to launch a new coronavirus testing program available in schools statewide this fall. Health officials and educators say it’s important to minimize disruption to education, especially for children too young to be vaccinated. New Delta Variant Spreading statewide.

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment officials say the state may need multiple vendors to make the testing program available to about 900,000 students, teachers and school staff at public schools in the Colorado. Colorado. I think there is sex. Colorado is currently seeking bids to run the program, spending $ 173 million in federal funding.

The plan allows students, faculty and staff in participating districts to sign up for a quick, free test each week. Increased testing efforts are the latest sign that a pandemic will affect grade three students and teachers. Because the COVID-19 restriction has been lifted.

“Our goal is to make the test easily accessible to all students and educators so that students can safely return to school directly with minimal confusion,” said CDPHE. Jessica Brish, spokesperson for, wrote in Colorado Sun. “Testing will be an important part of the COVID-19 response that occurs in the fall, especially with the spread of the delta variants. “

The state is looking for companies that can offer Abbott’s Binax NOW COVID-19 rapid antigen test and a more sensitive RT-PCR test that detects viral genetic material and confirms a positive rapid test. The companies either offer a full service model that provides all support services and test collection, processing and reporting, or a ‘drop shipping’ model that provides all test supplies and delivery. , as well as a digital platform for support services. I can do it. ..

The offer also includes an options section to help the state set up a rewards program, so participating students will receive a weekly gift card to try out.

“Too young to be vaccinated”

By providing schools with regular testing, Blarish said the program “helps delay transmission of the disease, especially among students too young to be vaccinated, and minimizes confusion in face-to-face learning. I will limit it to the limit. “

current, Children under 12 Not eligible for COVID-19 vaccine.

Denver, Colorado – November 7: Juliana Sandval, 24, takes a break from the COVID-19 nasal swab test by Dr. Sararowan of Denver Health. Rowan and other medical staff will perform a free COVID-19 test in the parking lot of Abraham Lincoln High School in Denver, Colorado on November 7, 2020 (Photo by Kathryn Scott)

Dr Glenn Maze, chair of the health systems, administration and policy department at Colorado Public Health School, said testing children, especially those who are too young to be vaccinated, is important to ensure school safety. He said it would be a way. Those who will be studying in the next academic year.

“I think the school environment is quickly becoming our most vulnerable environment as we move into this post-vaccination era,” Maze said. “They are the environment in which unvaccinated people, children are most likely to concentrate, and this is a new priority.”

According to Maze, the test allows schools to quickly identify positive cases and identify contacts of infectious people, especially unvaccinated people, “thus continuing another cycle of epidemics at school.” Please don’t. “

Studies show that infants are less likely to be infected with the coronavirus and are much less likely to experience health complications from the infection than older people, but Maze remains a strong supporter of the test. ..

“We also know that children spread the virus, so we have to use all the tools in the toolkit to protect them,” he said.

CDPHE Announcement Last week, a revised public health ordinance eliminated the need for face masks in school. However, Maze says she will continue to protect unvaccinated children, and schools must maintain masking and social distancing and ensure adequate ventilation where possible.

Teachers support more tests

The Colorado Education Society specifically supports testing strategies. Sprinkle mutant deltacoronavirus uncertainty.

“We support testing and believe this is the right strategy if you want to maximize face-to-face learning,” said Amie Baca-Oehlert, President of CEA.

According to Baca-Oehlert, the continuous transition between different modes of learning has created challenges for students and educators over the past year as schools have responded to the number of cases and epidemics.

Many teachers ask questions about what the start of the school year will look like. The availability of vaccines has allayed many fears among educators, but stupid-aurat is still worried about the safety of their students while they wait for them to be vaccinated. Said.

In the past year, many districts relied on regular examinations of teachers and students to assess the need for quarantine and shutdown before the disease spread. COVIDCheck Colorado, Expanded Testing Network The Gary Community Investment Company and the Piton Foundation have partnered with 30 school districts to facilitate testing of staff and students throughout the school year.

Eric Parrie, CEO of COVIDCheck Colorado, said the initiative has conducted tens of thousands of tests and ultimately helped many districts keep classroom doors open.

“Many of them were safe and informed, and families, staff and teachers were also safe and informed, so we were able to meet face-to-face and provide the best learning and education for our children. I reported to Parry. ..

The COVIDCheck Colorado driving test site is pictured in the parking lot at Golden Colorado Mines School on Monday, January 11, 2021. (Andy Colwell, Colorado Sun Special)

COVIDCheck Colorado has partnered with CDPHE to set up dozens of testing sites statewide, making testing available to the general public since November of last year. In the spring, a test network was also launched School Test.

COVIDCheck Colorado is not interested in bidding on the state’s new program, but Parry said the network will continue to partner with 30 districts and may add more next year.

A lot of money on the table

Colorado is set to launch this massive new rapid test program after CDPHE faced public controversy with test vendors during its previous rapid test program rollout. . Mismanagement The program was reported by the Colorado Springs Gazette. According to The Gazette, the CEO of eMed accused him of using only a small portion of the 2 million tests he had promised to buy, but the state never agreed to buy the all of the 2 million tests. He says he only buys up to that number. ..

State officials have defended the management of rapid inspection programs, avoiding questions about potential suppliers reluctant to work with Colorado because of the conflict.

“We successfully implemented the Binax At-Home testing program, and when telemedicine services were temporarily interrupted, individuals were able to perform their own tests and communicate the results to their healthcare providers. Brasish said. “We also operate the Bulk Binax program, which distributes over 2.7 million tests across the state.”

However, this new program has so much potential that it can be a much bigger challenge for the state. The state has $ 173,450,305 in federal funding to pay for the program as part of an award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s unclear what the actual demand for testing will be, but with around 900,000 students enrolled in Colorado public schools and over 55,000 teachers, the price of a one-year weekly test is easy. It can exceed $ 100 million.

The tender document states that “the service is likely to be provided by several providers”, so that the authorities can divide it into smaller contracts.

Potential bidders must submit their proposals by July 16, and the contract is expected to start August 2 and run throughout the school year.

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Colorado plans to dramatically expand COVID-19 testing in schools next year, even as restrictions disappear Source link Colorado plans to significantly expand COVID-19 testing in schools next year, even as restrictions disappear