DENVER (CBS4) – Gov. Jared Polis hopes to get more schools involved in surveillance testing with rewards for students who participate.

“There are 7 kids 10 and under among the 501 hospitalizations,” Polis announced during a press conference Thursday.

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Children ages 11 and younger are not yet able to get the vaccine, but they can still be tested for COVID-19.

“Masks reduce transmission by about 15 percent, that is not enough,” Polis said.

In addition to other COVID-19 protocols, Polis offered to help schools establish or scale-up testing, much like what was in place when there was an outbreak last school year.

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“We actually provide PCR testing which is a little different than the Binax, and we have mobile units that actually go throughout our entire district,” Stephanie Farren, Boulder Valley School District Health Services Director explained.

Some school districts believe they have strong community testing already in place. BVSD partners with COVIDCheck Colorado to offer free testing for students and staff. The district says some schools had 70% participation.

“I really don’t know much about the incentive program that Governor Polis is proposing, but I hope everyone thinks of testing as an incentive to keep everyone safe,” she said.

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Incentivizing students could help increase testing, which might detect COVID-19 cases in people who are asymptomatic.

“It’s up to not just school districts, it’s up to individual parents,” Polis added.

The governor said the state is still working on the reward amount, which could be between $5 and $25. The money would come from federal funds, through the American Rescue Plan.