Montezuma-Cortez School District will opt into a new state-developed at-home COVID-19 testing program for teachers, staff and selected students.
The program allows people who show coronavirus symptoms or were exposed to the virus to get tested as quickly and conveniently as possible. Testing kits will be sent to staff members’ homes and to schools as early as next week. Results are available within 15 minutes of collecting a nasal swab sample.
According to a news release, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has contracted with eMed, a digital health provider, to provide BinaxNOW home test kits. Colorado is one of only three states with early access to the program.
“We’re definitely going to opt into the first round because the state will be paying for that,” said District Re-1 Superintendent Lori Haukeness. “We’ll then assess how effective it is and how responsive the staff is to the home tests.”
Sue Ciccia, the district’s health services director, filled out a short survey for CDPHE to help the department determine how many kits to send to the district.
Each kit likely will have six tests. Because the self-tests aren’t perfect, Ciccia believes that testing about every fifth day is a good way to know one’s status.
The program may be an especially useful tool in the effort to keep schools open. Montezuma-Cortez schools officially reopened for in-person learning Wednesday for the first time since Nov. 16.
“We’re going to give it a shot,” Ciccia said. “We want as many modalities as we can to help teachers be safe, feel safe and be back in the classroom.”