By Jeff Todd

AURORA, Co (CBS4) – While the state’s rapid COVID-19 testing program inside schools started slowly, more districts are getting onboard nearly two months into the school year. Aurora Public Schools is the latest in the Denver metro area to agree to the program run by CDPHE to offer weekly testing for students and even pay them to take the tests.

(credit: CBS)

“We have adopted a layered approach to protecting our students and our staff,” said Mark Seglem the Chief of Staff at Aurora Public Schools.

On Wednesday, Gov. Jared Polis praised the district for being a leader in its COVID-19 response. Vaccination has been stressed for students and staff, and kids involved in most extracurricular activities have been required to get tested weekly off campus.

The district has 40,000 students. Its staff is more than 96% vaccinated.

“We’re going to encourage as many students as possible from kindergarten all the way up through 12th grade,” Seglem said.

READ MORE: Colorado Schools Encouraged To Take Part In Free, In-School COVID Testing

(credit: CBS)

The state program allows students, who get parental permission if they’re under 18, to get paid. The first test pays $25 and $10 for each subsequent weekly test. Students are paid the following month.

“In the case of Aurora Public Schools, where we have families that struggle at times, this is a this is a wonderful thing for them to be able to participate and have their child participate in,” Seglem said.

It’s expected to be a few weeks before the program is up and running throughout the district. The hope is it can help make an impact on outbreaks, especially in grades with younger kids who can’t get vaccinated yet.

“We want as many families as, as humanly possible to participate in this program,” Seglem said.

Jeff Todd