DENVER (KDVR) — Gov. Jared Polis announced Thursday that Colorado will be implementing a COVID-19 monitoring program in schools, paying between $5 and $25 a week to students who sign up for regular testing.
Polis said in a press conference 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 2021-22 school year.
Polis said he wants schools to be able to identify students who may have who may have asymptomatic cases and keep them at home so they don’t spread the virus in their school.
“If a school district says, everyone is wearing a mask…but there’s nothing else we are doing, that does not work,” Polis said.
The program will be available to all public, private, charter, and tribal schools in the state that 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 mask program.
“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 in a media statement. “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.”
In his press conference, Polis also touched on Colorado’s Comeback Cash Card Giveaway. The program, which provides Coloradans who get the vaccine at participating sites a $100 Walmart gift card, has produced a 71% vaccination increase at each site where the gift cards are available, according to Colorado officials.
You can watch a replay of the press conference above.