By Audra Streetman

DENVER (CBS4) – Students at Denver Public Schools now have access to free COVID-19 tests at Denver Health testing sites. The district made the announcement on Thursday with Denver Health leaders.

(credit: CBS)

The free COVID-19 tests are for students with symptoms of COVID-19 who have been screened and recommended for a test.

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“By providing testing to kids we can prioritize them and thus, prioritize a safe and successful environment for them to be in school,” said Dr. Steve Federico, Director General Pediatrics and School & Community Programs, Denver Health. “For the last 33 years, Denver Health has worked to build a ‘no wrong door approach’ when it comes to providing access to healthcare for our students. This is just the latest way we are expanding that care and making it accessible, no matter your circumstances.”

Testing for students will be available for same day appointments, including Saturday, with a 24-hour turn around at the following Denver Health locations:

  • Federico F. Pena Southwest Family Health Center and Urgent Care
  • Lowry Family Health Center
  • Montbello Family Health Center
  • Rita Bass Trauma and EMS Education Institute

“Thanks to our community partnerships, we can now provide free testing for both staff and students,” said DPS Superintendent Susana Cordova. “This will help us to create safer school environments, limit the disruptions to student learning and provide access to healthcare supports for our students.”

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On Tuesday, DPS announced in-person learning is postponed for middle and high school students. The district says elementary schools will open as planned to all grades next week.

Students in 6th-12th grade were set to return to a mix of in-person and online learning on Oct. 21. Instead, they will now continue with remote learning for at least three weeks into the second quarter, through Nov. 6.

Secondary special-education center programs, newcomer centers, and remote learning centers will open for in-person at the start of the second quarter.

Prior to an appointment for a COVID-19 test, parents and students will need to complete their schools’ daily health screening. If a student fails a health screening, or is showing symptoms of illness, students will be directed to next steps if a test is necessary.

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In August, DPS announced a partnership with COVIDCheck Colorado, a social benefit enterprise of Gary Community Investments, to provide free testing for staff. Gary Community Investments has furthered their commitment by making the tests available for students.

Audra Streetman