On Thursday, JeffCo Public Schools launched a school-based COVID-19 surveillance testing program.
JeffCo is the largest school district in Colorado to enroll in the state program. The state received $173 million in federal funding to offer school-based testing.
Any student or staff member in JeffCo Public Schools can take advantage of the free testing, but it’s designed primarily for those without symptoms. In a letter to families, the district urged those experiencing symptoms to use other community testing options.
The district is partnering with the company MobileHealth to offer the testing. Sites will be set up at 18 different high schools and four district transportation centers. Testing will be offered Monday through Friday, at different times of day depending on the location.
To encourage more students to get regularly tested for COVID-19, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is offering an incentive program. Students can get a $25 gift card for the first test, and a $10 gift card for each subsequent week of testing. Gift cards will be mailed to families at the end of each month.
While testing is voluntary for most students and staff, under a Jefferson County Public Health Order, unvaccinated students who play sports or participate in after-school activities will be required to submit to weekly COVID-19 testing.
CDPHE says 23 school districts have enrolled in the school-based testing program so far. A Douglas County School District spokesperson said DCSD has no plans to enroll in the program.