DENVER — All students in the Denver Public Schools systems will have access to free COVID-19 assessments and tests, according to an announcement from DPS and Denver Health.
The two organizations have been partners for 33 years and this is one more extension of that partnership, Dr. Steven Federico with Denver Health explained during a press conference Thursday morning. Federico is a primary care doctor for pediatrics.
He said through Denver Health's School-based Health Centers, the family of any DPS child exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 can schedule a telehealth visit where a professional assess if the child requires a COVID-19 test. If so, one will be scheduled at one of the following drive-up locations in the city:
- Federico F. Pena Southwest Family Health Center and Urgent Care
- Lowry Family Health Center
- Montbello Family Health Center
- Rita Bass Trauma and EMS Education Institute
Kathrine Hale, manager of DPS Nursing and Student Health Services, said if families would like to learn more about their options, they can contact their school's nurse. They can also call DPS at 720-424-4357 or send an email to CoronavirusInfo@dpsk12.org.
“Getting our kids tested when they need to be tested, as well as the testing we are offering to our staff, is really going to keep our communities safe and help us identify needs," she said. "That is our top priority, is keeping our school community safe, including our staff and our students.”
Federico said the goal is to maximize in-person learning "and to keep our school building safe and to have a successful return to school as we return our elementary school students gradually back to in-person learning."
He said it's important to ensure that anybody exhibiting symptoms is not attending in-person school.
"In order to get them back as quickly as possible, we want to assess their risk for COVID and when they are safe, get them back as quickly as possible," he said.
Federico said Denver Health has been working to build up its testing capacity since March and while they've been successful, there are limits. As of now, they do not have the capacity to do contact tracing. He explained they are relying on public health infrastructure and referring people to other sites for that.