DENVER — Colorado teachers and students began receiving at-home COVID-19 tests this week, a push to ramp up testing for schools while teachers await the vaccine in the coming weeks.
Gov. Jared Polis was on hand at several teachers' homes to drop off Abbott BinaxNOW home-use tests, two million of which have been acquired by Colorado through a partnership with eMed.
I just delivered BinaxNow COVID-19 rapid tests to teachers in Arvada! This is Dawn who teaches at Westlake Middle School and Lindsay from Thornton Elementary! pic.twitter.com/jyBMIdgrsj— Governor Jared Polis (@GovofCO) February 1, 2021
The goal is to provide at-home COVID-19 testing for teachers, staff and certain students. The state is advising those who receive the test kits to take a test every five days. More than 250 schools and districts have requested the at-home tests for their staff and students, and they'll be delivered over the next few weeks.
The Abbott BinaxNow test received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration in December.
Colorado officials are hoping to make the at-home tests available through the end of the school year to all schools that opt into the program.
“In-person learning is critical for the health, safety, and well-being of students and the whole family," Polis said in a news release last week. "We know that remote learning is really hurting the participation of women in the workplace, juvenile mental health, childhood hunger, and loss of learning for our students. That’s why since last Fall when students started returning to school, my administration has spared no expense to implement a highly effective layered approach to safety.”
The test deliveries this week come after the governor faced criticism from some teachers last week for telling CNN that Colorado teachers were being tested twice a week. Polis clarified that teachers would begin receiving the at-home kits for twice-weekly testing this week.
The at-home testing also comes as Colorado prepares to begin vaccinating all teachers and other student-facing employees on Feb. 8, a process that is expected to take 2-3 weeks, Polis said last week.