Gov. Jared Polis’ office
On Aug. 12, Gov. Jared Polis provided an update on the COVID-19 pandemic and the state’s efforts to get more Coloradans vaccinated. Polis also announced additional steps the state is taking to ensure students, faculty and staff can safely return to school.
Polis announced that starting the first week in September, Colorado will be providing free, voluntary, rapid COVID-19 testing on a weekly basis to all K-12 schools for the 2021-2022 school year. This program builds on the free testing that has been available since January.
Last school year, 183 schools opted into the Binax-at-home program. In addition, in the spring, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) distributed bulk Binax tests to schools that had participated in the school mask program. The CDPHE sent three monthly shipments of tests — 467,200 tests to 352 schools in March, 351,040 tests to 218 schools in April and 109,400 to 171 schools in May.
“A new school year is quickly approaching and it’s critical that our students, teachers and staff have a safe and enjoyable year in the classroom. Every day, more and more students and adults are getting vaccinated, but until the vaccine is available to everyone 12 and younger, we must continue to be vigilant and protect our youngest Coloradans from this virus,” said Polis. “Vaccines for those who are eligible, along with mask-wearing, regular testing, stay home when sick, effective quarantines, and ventilation are key ways to slow and stop the spread of COVID. If you are eligible to get the vaccine, I encourage you not to wait another day, get the lifesaving, free vaccine as soon as you can.”
Throughout this global pandemic, data showed that layered protections — like masks, testing, staying home when sick, ventilation upgrades and more — could help make our schools one of the safest environments for our students. The Polis administration worked to get all Colorado students back in the classrooms as early as January of this year, preventing further learning loss and helping our kids get the education they deserve.
In July, the Polis administration released updated guidance for schools on how to best ensure safety in the classroom this fall, one of the main recommendations being weekly testing as a key component for limiting the spread of the virus.
This program will be available to all public, private, charter and tribal schools in the state who choose to enroll and will include testing for both students and staff. Schools interested in the program can sign up at covid19.colorado.gov/free-testing-schools.
Colorado is also restarting its mask delivery program for schools across the state. Adult and child-sized N95 masks will be available along with surgical masks for the start of the 2021-2022 school year. This program builds upon Colorado’s efforts to provide masks to schools during the previous school year. The Colorado Department of Education will reach out to every school in the state to provide information on how to enroll in the program.
Polis also announced that Colorado’s Comeback Cash Card Giveaway has had tremendous success in getting more people vaccinated. The program, which provides Coloradans who get the vaccine at participating sites a $100 Walmart gift card, has produced a 71 percent vaccination increase at each site where the gift cards are available.
A total of 73.14 percent of adult Coloradans are immunized with one dose of the vaccine, and 65.42 percent of eligible Coloradans are fully vaccinated.
Additional information about the Comeback Cash Card Giveaway, including a list of the participating vaccine clinics for the Walmart gift cards, can be found at cocomebackcash.com.
Testing continues to be free, quick and easy. You can find a testing location near you at covid19.colorado.gov/testing.
For more information on where to get the vaccine, please visit covid19.colorado.gov/vaccine.