Gov. Polis identifies symptom screening, on-site testing at schools to allow in-person learning

Gov. Jared Polis issues statewide mask mandate for Colorado
Posted at 12:23 PM, Dec 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-16 09:47:11-05

Gov. Polis was joined by Colorado Commissioner of Education Katy Anthes and the co-chairs of the back-to-school working group, which was created last month to help get as many students as possible back to in-person learning.

On-site testing for those who are symptomatic, contact tracing, symptom screening, cohorts, handwashing, ventilation, and mask-wearing are among the tools schools will leverage to return to in-person learning in 2021.

On-site rapid testing at schools will allow symptomatic students to be tested immediately and staff to determine any necessary quarantine periods for a student who tests positive for COVID-19 to return to class.

The group is comprised of teachers, superintendents, school board officials, public health officials, and parents who are tasked with finding pieces of models that have worked for schools and districts in helping keep more students learning at school, which education leaders widely agree is the best environment for Colorado students to learn.

The governor said teachers and educators will be provided with vaccines in Phase Two of the state's distribution plan.

Governor Polis is urging Colorado hospitals to begin administering the COVID-19 vaccine within 72 hours of receiving shipments of it as the vaccine arrived in Colorado.

“Colorado is expecting to begin receiving initial, limited doses of COVID vaccine this week, and we need to be ready to hit the ground running," Polis wrote in a letter. "Our ability to quickly vaccinate prioritized populations and report those doses as administered to the Colorado Immunization Information System is paramount to Colorado’s ability to receive future allocations of COVID vaccine and end this public health crisis."

Polis, who was on hand to receive Colorado's first shipment of the vaccine at 8 a.m. Monday, asked hospital administrators to confirm to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) of their plans to start issuing the vaccine and request support from the CDPHE if they need it.

Polis and health officials were at a state health building in Denver on Monday as the first shipment of the vaccine arrived. Hearing a ring signaling the shipment's arrival, Polis raised a garage door and signed for the FedEx shipment of the vaccine.

"Show me where to sign," Polis told the FedEx delivery driver. "I've been waiting to do this signature for nine months.

Colorado is expecting the first shipment of 46,800 doses of Pfizer vaccines between Dec. 13-16. The state anticipates 95,600 doses of the Moderna vaccine the following week.

Allocations were based upon the population in each state and the quantity of ready-to-ship doses from the manufacturer. Colorado will receive 46,800 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and expects to receive 95,600 doses of the Moderna vaccine.

Colorado's COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan will be implemented in three phases, giving priority to the highest-risk healthcare workers and staff at long-term care facilities.

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Colorado expected to receive the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine between Dec. 13-16