With just over a month until school starts for many Colorado districts, state health officials are planning to launch a school-based system of regular COVID-19 testing.
The goal is to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in K-12 schools, particularly among unvaccinated children.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will use just over $173 million in federal funds for the testing program. CDPHE is in the process of selecting vendors for the program who will administer both rapid antigen tests and PCR molecular tests.
While details are still being worked out, CDPHE epidemiologist Dr. Ginger Stringer said regular testing can help catch cases of COVID-19 in asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic individuals.
“Having robust testing programs allows us to identify cases and isolate them to prevent spread,” Stringer said.
CDPHE said another goal of the testing is to limit disruptions to in-person learning.
In May, nearly a dozen Colorado superintendents sent a letter to the state asking for an end to quarantines. CDPHE recently amended a public health order and no longer requires masks to be worn in school settings, though the order expires Aug. 1, before the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year.