State’s COVID-19 Testing Program Comes to Summit School District

Children line up to start their first day of kindergarten at Dillon Valley Elementary School on Wednesday, August 25, 2021. The school district plans to use a state-run COVID-19 testing program.
Jason Connolly Archives / Summit Daily News

The Summit School District will participate in a free, state-run COVID-19 testing program that encourages students to participate. The district has continued to have a low number of cases since the start of the school year and hopes this program will further prevent the spread of the virus by catching asymptomatic cases.

Acting Superintendent Roy Crawford said the school continues to send out weekly reports on COVID-19 cases on Friday, noting that the district has consistently had between 10 and 12 new cases per week – about 0.3% populations of students and district employees.

“When I gave these numbers to the directors yesterday, I really congratulated them because it’s the people on the home front who remind (kids) to take their masks (and) cover their noses,” Crawford said. during the board meeting. “… For many of our teachers and principals, it is grueling work day in and day out. “

Crawford presented the board with a chart from the Colorado Department of Education showing the drastic differences in the number of cases between schools in the state with and without a masking warrant. He said this reinforces the fact that he made the right decision in August by implementing masking and other mitigation strategies in the district.

Summit School District / Courtesy Graphic

Crawford also said Summit County had one of the lowest numbers of cases among children aged 6 to 17 in the state, which he said is a testament to the fact that students followed the procedures of County mitigation and vaccination rates.

The state testing program is completely free for the district. The state is providing the tests and the medical professionals to administer them, which Crawford said the state is able to do with the additional funding it has received from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Crawford said he expects it to take three to four weeks for the program to be up and running at Summit now that the district has officially expressed interest.

The state would send medical professionals with all necessary testing materials to schools once a week, with custom schedules to accommodate each of the schools in the district.

“They provide everything,” Crawford said. “They provide the portal, they provide the staff (and) they say they will come when it is most convenient for the schools. So if we have nine sites, they will set nine schedules. … All we have to do is bring the kids from the classroom to them and back, but it’s not as easy as it looks on the surface.

Crawford said all of the district directors agreed and understood the need, but they fear families might take advantage of the opportunity. He said in the state’s experience so far, only about 50% of families have opted for the program, but Crawford is optimistic. The summit will see a higher turnout. The number of students participating will also have an impact on the logistics of testing operations, but Crawford said the state estimated it would take two to three minutes per student.

Families can register or withdraw from the program at any time, but the weekly tests will be available to everyone. There will also be incentives: the first time a student is tested, they will receive a $ 25 gift card and a $ 10 gift card for each subsequent test.

“If you have three kids, over a month it starts to add up,” Crawford said.

Crawford said the district has no role in the incentive program, which is run entirely by the CDC-funded state program. The incentive program will continue until funds are exhausted.

Crawford said it is essential for families to provide the most accurate and accurate data possible when registering for the program to ensure it runs smoothly. He said district leaders are working to find the best way to help families register through the testing portal.

“We’re working on all of this,” Crawford said of the logistics of the tests. “It’s a little overwhelming when you go into the details, but at the same time, it’s something we feel we need to do for our parents in the community. “

After the last board meeting, when the district expressed that it was studying the state’s testing program, it sent out a survey to families asking if they would be interested in using the program. Crawford said the survey received fewer than 200 responses, of which about 70% were in favor of introducing testing in the district.

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