Not enough kids are using Colorado’s school COVID testing program for it to work, governor says | SummitDaily.com
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Not enough kids are using Colorado’s school COVID testing program for it to work, governor says

Fewer than 5,000 kids — less than 1% of Colorado’s K-12 student population — are signed up for the state’s weekly testing program launched earlier this month

Daniel Ducassi and Erica Breunlin
The Colorado Sun
Children wait in line to begin their first day of kindergarten at the Dillon Valley Elementary School on August 25, 2021.
Jason Connolly/Summit Daily News archive

DENVER — A coronavirus testing program for schools that Gov. Jared Polis has touted as a way to keep students safe and in class isn’t working as designed because not enough kids are getting swabbed, Polis told The Colorado Sun on Monday, Sept. 27.

Fewer than 5,000 students — less than 1% of Colorado’s K-12 student population — are signed up for the weekly testing program, according to state data provided to The Sun late last week. That’s not enough to be useful to track cases and prevent outbreaks, Polis said. Schools would have to test at least 1 in 5 kids for it to really make a difference, he said. Right now, the average is fewer than 25 kids per school for the couple hundred schools that have actually started testing.

“It gives us some surveillance data, it’s useful to the state,” he said, “but it’s not enough concentrated in any one site to have a significant positive safety impact on any particular school.”



The testing program is backed by $173 million in federal funding as part of the American Rescue Plan Act and was aimed at boosting testing rates over lackluster numbers last academic year. But, so far, Colorado is running into problems similar to those plaguing schools across the nation.

In the meantime, Colorado students are catching COVID. As of last week, there were 156 active coronavirus outbreaks in K-12 schools linked to 2,150 cases, including 1,900 among students, according to data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.




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