Summit School District to provide rapid tests to staff, some students
Staff and some students at Summit School District will be able to use rapid COVID-19 tests as soon as the end of the week, district officials said at a town hall Tuesday, Jan. 26.
At the town hall, Chief Operations Officer Drew Adkins gave an update on the district’s COVID-19 plan. During that update, Adkins said the district has enrolled in the state’s program to have BinaxNow COVID-19 tests shipped to schools and staff homes.
“We are hoping that by the end of the week, we can get this rolling for our staff or for symptomatic individuals, including students, at our school sites,” Adkins said.
Colorado is one of three states acting as a pilot for the rapid testing program within school districts. People who use the test should be able to get results in 15-30 minutes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A telehealth professional will guide patients through the process of using the test, which collects DNA through a nasal swab. Patients are then able to use the test kit to see their results.
“This is a very encouraging thing,” Adkins said. “We know that teachers have absolutely asked these great questions of the state and of us, and we’ve advocated to get rapid testing in our schools.”
As the district starts to use the BinaxNow test, it will stop using Curative cheek swab tests, which were being provided for students at school who were experiencing symptoms.
On Jan. 4, the Food and Drug Administration issued an alert to patients and health care providers that the Curative tests had a risk of providing false negatives. Public Health Director Amy Wineland said the tests had difficulty identifying people who were asymptomatic, who account for an estimated 40% of COVID-19 cases.
“We’ve had a lot of meetings with the school district this week and last week around Curative and decided it’s not something we’re going to support here in the county,” Wineland said at a Board of Health meeting Tuesday.
She added that the Curative tests originally were brought on when the county had only one community testing site in Frisco. The county now has three sites where people can get tested. None of those sites use the Curative swab tests.
At the town hall, Adkins also gave an update on the district’s vaccination plan. On Tuesday, Gov. Jared Polis said educators will be prioritized in the next phase of vaccine distribution and could be able to receive vaccines before March 1 — the state’s goal date for moving into the next phase.
With this information in mind, the district has been working with public health and the Summit Community Care Clinic to work on a plan for distribution once they are able to, Adkins said.
“Things keep changing, so we’re reluctant to pin anything, but we’re poised to be able to … deliver those vaccines as soon as (the state health department) will allow us to be able, as a county, to administer those vaccines,” he said.
During the question and answer portion of the town hall, a participant asked if the district has any plans to require that staff take the vaccine. Adkins said that’s not being considered at the moment.
“At this point, we do not have a desire or any sort of policy that would mandate vaccines for students or staff,” he said. “We realize that staff members, some have allergies, some have other health issues that would preclude them or even personal choice options with that.”
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