By Makenzie O'Keefe

(CBS4) – School districts are working to make sure classrooms are safe for students and teachers this fall, and for Aurora Public Schools that means providing teachers with the opportunity to have on-going, rapid coronavirus testing. On Wednesday, APS announced a partnership with Gary Community Investments on a new platform called COVIDCheck Colorado. It will provide employers a comprehensive approach to fast and accurate testing, symptom tracking and contact tracing tools as a key component of their health and safety plans to reopen.

“We know that the most rigorous instruction can happen in-person and we want to make that possible however possible,” explained Rico Munn, the Superintendent of Aurora Public Schools. “It’s going to allow us to implement one of the best strategies we’ve seen around the world for addressing the spread of infection of the coronavirus.”

The online platform offers Aurora teachers a place to sign up for nearby COVID-19 testing, with rapid results. A health care provider will follow up with the results, and help guide the employee through the next steps whether the test comes back negative or positive.

“Every teacher who wants it can get access to testing every two weeks,” explained Mike Johnston, the CEO of Gary Community Investments. “So that way they’re having a regular survey of are they being exposed to the virus or not.”

The online platform also provides a HIPAA-compliant app to monitor symptoms every morning before heading into work.

“And if those symptoms are concerning to immediately refer them not to come into school, instead get tested right away and quarantine until we get the results back,” Johnston said. “And that’s how you stay ahead of spreading the virus before it even begins.”

Munn said this is a big step in making sure they can help keep teachers and students as safe as possible in the classroom.

“We need to make sure that we have the control and protocol in place to keep everybody feeling comfortable and actually safe and healthy as we can,” Munn said.

COVIDCheck Colorado will also allow teachers to opt into contact tracing that will use Bluetooth to alert people if someone they’ve had contact with tested positive for the virus. Johnston said he hopes this helps school districts open safely, and in turn help open the economy.

“We think it’s really a great system of prevention on the symptom tracker side, of continued intervention around testing, and then quick response as soon as there is a positive case so you can contain that as people right away instead of having to close down entire campuses or entire workforce,” Johnston said.

Makenzie O'Keefe

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