COVIDCheck Colorado Expands Free COVID-19 Testing to More Coloradans Before the Holidays

Those Who Get Tested on December 21 to Receive Results by December 24

Gary Community Investments’ COVIDCheck Colorado is encouraging Coloradans to sign up for free COVID-19 tests today, Monday, December 21, to stay safe and healthy at this critical time in the pandemic and to work as a community to #CRUSHCovidCO. Free, fast and reliable COVID tests are available to anyone who visits one of COVIDCheck Colorado’s 25 drive-thru test sites located throughout Colorado. Most test sites are open December 21, 22 and 23 from 7a.m. to 5p.m.

Testing is available to anyone, whether they have been exposed or are experiencing symptoms. No proof of insurance or identification is needed. Those who get tested on Monday, December 21, will receive results by December 24. Individuals are encouraged to schedule a free test at covidcheckcolorado.org, although walk-ins are also welcome. Those who test positive will also receive a phone call from a doctor or nurse who will offer support and guidance on how best to keep others around them safe.

“While limiting gatherings and social distancing is still encouraged, getting tested and knowing whether or not you’re carrying the virus is critical to keeping yourself and others safe and healthy during this busy season,” said Mike Johnston, president and CEO of Gary Community Investments. “With more than 11,000 people registered for testing today, it’s clear that Coloradans are serious about crushing COVID and giving nothing but good intentions and best wishes to others this holiday season.”

The social benefit enterprise by Gary Community Investments launched late last summer to provide free testing to teachers and staff at districts throughout the state. After providing more than 100,000 tests to educators, COVIDCheck Colorado partnered with the State of Colorado to expand free testing to all Coloradans.

COVIDCheck Colorado intends to provide access to free testing beyond December 23, and is working to open new test sites that can serve more Coloradans throughout the state. Updated test site locations and hours of operation can be found at covidcheckcolorado.org. All COVIDCheck Colorado test sites have trained medical professionals who administer an FDA-EUA approved PCR nasal swab test. Those who get tested through COVIDCheck Colorado can expect to receive results within 24-72 hours.


A Local Coalition of Superintendents Announces Strategies for Reopening Schools in January with New COVID-19 Measures

A coalition of Denver-area superintendents and public health leaders gathered Tuesday afternoon for a virtual press conference to discuss new measures to ensure the safe reopening of schools for in-person teaching and learning.

In partnership with the Denver Metro Partnership for Health and COVIDCheck Colorado, the leaders outlined a series of mitigation strategies that will allow schools to reopen even if cases in the community remain relatively high. The leaders also discussed the point at which cases in the community become so high that they are unable to maintain staffing and safely keep schools open.

The leaders who participated in Tuesday’s press conference are:

  • Dr. Scott Siegfried, Superintendent of Cherry Creek Schools
  • Bill Burman, M.D., Executive Director of Denver Public Health and co-chair of Metro Denver Partnership for Health
  • Mike Johnston, President and CEO, Gary Community Investments and Chairman, COVIDCheck Colorado
  • Susana Cordova, Superintendent of Denver Public Schools
  • Dwight Jones, Senior Deputy Superintendent for Equity for DPS
  • Kristopher Schuh, Interim Superintendent of Jeffco Public Schools
  • Rico Munn, Superintendent of Aurora Public Schools
  • Chris Gdowski, Superintendent of Adams 12 Five Star Schools
  • Brian Ewert, Superintendent of Littleton Public Schools
  • Corey Wise, Interim Superintendent of Douglas County Public Schools

Schools do not meaningfully contribute to the spread of COVID.

State and national health experts have recommended that schools can reopen even with high rates of COVID in the community based on the fact that COVID rarely spreads in schools. Local data from Colorado districts also shows that when schools follow overlapping health safety strategies, such as mandatory mask wearing and COVID testing of staff, virus spread is minimal.

A multi-district effort to collect student and staff case data from 35 districts revealed that of 41,000 students placed under quarantine from August through mid-November, only 166 tested positive during quarantine, or 0.41%. While this may be attributed to exposure at school – the percentages are low.

Widespread community transmission of COVID makes operating schools difficult

While data shows that schools are safe places during the pandemic, district leaders learned that high incidence rates can make it nearly impossible to operate schools, due to staffing concerns and increasing numbers of quarantines from cases coming into schools from the community. Data and experience demonstrate that a community incidence rate at, or slightly above, 500 cases per 100,000 people is the level at which it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain in-person learning.

New COVID Measures 

The following new health and safety measures will be implemented starting in January among the Metro Denver school districts:

Quarantine Guidelines

  • Schools will have the ability to do targeted quarantines at all levels, including middle and high school.
  • Additionally, in alignment with updated CDC guidance, students and staff will have the ability to test out of quarantine on day seven. This strategy will allow students and staff to safely return to class sooner and will lessen the impact on the ability to keep schools open.
  • Students and staff will have access to fast and reliable no-cost COVID tests through a partnership with COVIDCheck Colorado, a social benefit enterprise of Gary Community Investments.

Testing

  • No-cost testing will be also available for students and staff to test out of quarantine in alignment with new CDC guidelines. With a test on day 5 or after, students and staff can test out of quarantine as early as day 7 with a negative test result and no symptoms.
  • We will work to provide access to regular no-cost COVID testing for students and staff at elementary schools to allow for early identification of COVID-positive children and adults who could also be asymptomatic, creating a safer, more operationally feasible environment. Some school districts will begin the semester with this testing system ready to go. These tests will be offered on a regular basis through a partnership with COVIDCheck Colorado, with results delivered in 36-72 hours. Testing is not mandatory and will not be performed without parental permission, but it is strongly encouraged as a critical safety strategy.

Educator Vaccinations

  • We strongly advocate for educators to be prioritized in the vaccination schedule. Schools not only prepare students for the future, but also serve as a foundational aspect of the economy by supporting working parents. Once educators have the opportunity to receive a vaccination, schools will have a greater chance of remaining open regardless of the spread of the virus.

Additional Resources

  • The districts appreciate the support provided by the state to this point, however, educating students during a pandemic has a significant impact on school district budgets and ultimately will impact the ability of schools to meet the needs of students in the future.

District leaders said the new strategies will support the goal of returning students to the classroom starting second semester.

“Getting students back in school and with their teachers is critically important,” Cherry Creek Schools Superintendent Scott Siegfried said. “As a learning organization, we must use the most up-to-date science, data and facts when making decisions about opening schools. Regular testing of students to identify asymptomatic cases along with the other new strategies will help us be more successful in that goal.”

“In-person learning is critical for the health and development of children, particularly, the youngest children,” said Bill Burman, MD, Executive Director of Denver Public Health and co-chair of MDPH. “Re-opening schools for in-person learning, beginning with the youngest children, should be a public health priority for the Denver metro area.”

“Access to fast and reliable COVID tests is one of the most critical mitigation strategies to help schools maintain the safest environment for in-person teaching and learning,” said Mike Johnston, president and CEO of Gary Community Investments. “Estimates suggest our kids, many of whom are already behind, could lose nearly an entire year of academic gains, all while their parents can’t go to work and Colorado’s economy continues to decline. We must give kids the best possible start in 2021, by providing them the best opportunities to learn in the safest environment possible.”

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CONTACT:

Abbe Smith, Chief Communications Officer

Cherry Creek Schools

Mobile: 720-788-9527Email:

Modafexpertes


Governor Polis Provides Update on COVID-19

Governor Polis provided an update on the state’s response to COVID-19 and made several significant announcements.

“I will never give up on Coloradans and I know we have the resolve to do what is necessary to defeat this virus. Cases and hospitalizations have continued rising with over 1100 Coloradans currently hospitalized for COVID,” said Governor Polis. “We simply must do a better job of wearing masks, physically distaning and avoiding social interactions with those outside our households. It’s up to us, Colorado, the time for change is now.”

The Governor announced that given the rise in cases across our state, he has ordered the State Emergency Operations Center to return to level 1. This is the highest level of operation and brings together all state agencies, federal partners and the voluntary organizations that serve the State’s communities in crisis. At this level, the EOC can better coordinate and synchronize the State’s response to the pandemic.

In addition, the Governor shared that he has signed an Executive Order that will clarify the order of operations for surging hospital capacity for the State of Colorado. The first line of defense is for hospitals to increase their capacity internally by opening up unused space and augmenting their staffing. If further capacity is needed, then hospitals must scale back elective procedures. If patient load continues to surge after these steps the state will support the Colorado Hospital Association to address the interhospital transfer system, and if caseload further exceeds these strategies, alternative care sites will be utilized as a last resort. Hospitals need to exhaust all of their resources before alternative care sites are utilized.

This Executive Order directs all general hospitals to submit a plan to the state with their maximum surge bed count by Wednesday November 18th and a complete surge plan to CDPHE by November 20th, 2020, and must include:

  • A detailed plan to potentially increase bed capacity by at least fifty percent (50%) and provide staffing and medical equipment for such increase;
  • Strategies to increase the number of ICU beds by transitioning medical and surgical beds to ICU beds if needed.
  • A detailed staffing plan, sufficient to provide adequate care for all beds, including those in use or available to patients other than COVID-19 patients.
  • A mandate for elective procedures to be actively managed, reduced and/ or delayed if there is a surge of COVID-19 infections in the county or municipality in which the Facility is located.

It also directs that all hospitals report the maximum number of staffed ICU beds that can be made available for patients in need of ICU level care, as well as the maximum number of staffed medical and surgical beds available for non ICU hospitalization at 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. each day. Hospitals and medical providers are encouraged to continue utilizing telehealth and virtual visits as much as possible.

Under current public health orders, hospitals that are at more than 70% capacity or have less than a two-week supply of PPE must actively manage their elective procedures to ensure they have adequate capacity for a surge of patients, which has been the law of Colorado since July. Governor Polis shared that he plans to update both the executive orders and public health order to make it clear that hospitals experiencing stress and strain serving patients must begin a mandatory scale back of elective procedures in anticipation for a surge of patients in the coming weeks.

The Governor extended an Executive Order increasing the aquí and eliminating cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing and treatment for Medicaid enrollees. The Governor also extended an Executive Order related to . Finally, the governor amended and extended an Executive Order concerning statewide.

Governor Polis announced the good news that more than one million Coloradans have opted in to receiving the Colorado Exposure Notification technology which went live on all Android and Apple phones last month. Coloradans can visit  for more information or to sign up.

In order to scale up testing, the State is partnering with COVIDCheck Colorado, part of Gary Community Investments, who has launched seven testing sites around the metro area that are now open to the general public.

“Through our partnership with the State of Colorado, COVIDCheck Colorado has made fast and accurate COVID-19 testing available to all Coloradans, free of charge, through December 2020,” said Mike Johnston, CEO, Gary Investments.  If you are symptomatic or have been exposed to COVID-19 – Test Now. If you are working in a public facing capacity – Test Regularly. If you feel you need a test for any reason – Test As Needed.”

CovidCheck Colorado test are available at the following locations:

  • All City Stadium: 1495 S. Race Street, Denver, CO 80210
  • Cherry Creek High School: 4700 S. Yosemite Street, Greenwood Village, CO 80111
  • Instructional Support Facility: 5416 S. Riviera Way Aurora, CO 80015
  • North High School: 3125 Eliot Street, Denver, CO 80211
  • Mountain Range High: 12500 Huron Street Westminster, CO 80234
  • St. Vrain Valley Schools Innovation Center: 33 Quail Road, Longmont, CO 80504
  • Aurora Public Schools Professional Learning Center: 15771 E. 1st Ave, Aurora, CO 80011

The Governor’s presentation can be viewed .


Bennet Celebrates Launch of Colorado’s First COVID-19 Testing Site for Early Childhood at Clayton Early Learning, Applauds Colorado Education Community’s Partnership with COVIDCheck Colorado

Senator Discusses His Health Force Proposal to Train and Deploy Hundreds of Thousands of Americans to Support a National Strategy for Testing and Contact Tracing

For Photos From Today’s Event Click HERE

Denver – Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet visited Clayton Early Learning to celebrate the launch of Colorado’s first early childhood Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing site and applauded the state’s education community – from early childhood education through higher education – for partnering with Gary Community Investments’ COVIDCheck Colorado testing program. Bennet also discussed his Health Force proposal with U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and his other efforts in the Senate, which would provide the public health infrastructure necessary to support a national testing and contact tracing strategy and help schools and the economy open and remain open.

In offering COVID-19 testing to its community, Clayton joins COVIDCheck Colorado’s K12 and university partners in a collective effort to keep students of all ages as safe as possible throughout their academic journey.

“COVIDCheck Colorado provides access to fast, affordable, and accurate testing for the school community. Gary Community Investments, Clayton Early Learning, DPS, the University of Colorado Denver, and others are filling the void being left by Washington’s inaction,” said Bennet. “We need to pass and implement a national strategy for universal testing and contact tracing that allows us all to get back to school and back to work.”

“We started COVIDCheck Colorado because there are too many students across the state who can’t afford for us to question whether or not to open their schools,” said Mike Johnston, Gary Community Investments CEO. “No matter where students are in their educational journey, they’re depending on us to provide the safest environment possible so that they can experience the very best of what their school has to offer. As a former education leader, Senator Bennet, knows exactly what’s at stake, and we look forward to collaborating to ensure that critical public health resources like COVID-19 testing and contact tracing remain accessible to schools for the foreseeable future.”

Throughout the pandemic, communities around the country have a growing awareness that unless the system to care for our youngest children works, no one works,” commented Becky Crowe, president and CEO at Clayton Early Learning. “Most of our families and our teachers don’t have the luxury of working from home right now. If we put equity at the center, children and families who are economically vulnerable and the essential, early childhood workforce need to be at the front of the line when it comes to accessing regular COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and an eventual vaccine. This is a moral and an economic imperative, which is why we are grateful for this incredible collective effort.”

“As Colorado’s largest school district, it’s critically important that we have resources in place that can help protect our staff, students and the larger community,” said Susana Cordova, Superintendent of Denver Public Schools. “The testing provided by Gary Community Investments is a key piece in our ability to welcome students back into our schools. The health and safety of our staff and students remain a top priority for us as a district, and is top of mind for our families. By giving our staff access to a free test every two weeks, we’ll be able to track cases quickly and halt potential outbreaks before they emerge.”“To keep our community safe and ensure our students’ ongoing success, we need timely and accurate information about the prevalence of COVID-19 in our classrooms, offices, and residence halls,” said Michelle Marks, Chancellor of University of Colorado Denver. “We’re so grateful to COVIDCheck Colorado for providing rapid testing results for our campus, which enables us to monitor, track, and analyze the ongoing situation we face today.”

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have made clear that schools at every level are the economic engines of their communities. When young children and youth have the opportunity to learn in-person or attend day care, their families can return to work. When students are able to return to college, they can continue to prepare to enter the workforce. Today, having access to fast, accurate, and affordable COVID-19 testing through COVIDCheck Colorado is one of the most critical strategies schools and universities in our state can leverage to safely reopen.

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Health Force

Health Force is inspired by the Depression-era Works Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps, which similarly tapped the unemployed to help the nation recover from a sharp economic downturn. The Health Force would create a federally-supported and locally-managed program to train and deploy essential public and community health frontline workers, who could conduct testing, contact tracing, or eventual vaccine administration. These positions would complement America’s highly trained and skilled medical professionals already fighting on the front lines. The workforce would be trained by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and managed by state and local public health agencies across the country.

A national Health Force would be responsible for:

  • Conducting contact tracing;
  • Administering COVID-19 tests, including antibody tests;
  • Providing COVID-19 vaccinations (when available);
  • Sharing COVID-19 public health messages with community members, including debunking myths and misperceptions;
  • Providing data entry in support of epidemiological surveillance and to meet broader health information system requirements;
  • Providing community-based and home-based services, including food and medical supply delivery to elderly and immunocompromised individuals;
  • Providing palliative and hospice care;
  • Providing other public health-related services, as needed.

COVIDCheck Colorado

COVIDCheck Colorado is a social benefit enterprise of Gary Community Investment Company, which is part of the Gary Community Investments umbrella organization. It represents a philanthropic health consortium whose mission is to help Coloradans navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and get back to their community safely. COVIDCheck Colorado complements organizations’ strategies to reopen by providing access to accurate and affordable COVID-19 testing, symptom tracking and tools to support public health departments’ contact tracing efforts as a way to help Coloradans safely return to school, work and daily life. COVIDCheck Colorado works in accordance with guidelines from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment as well as an advisory board of public health leaders and HIPAA-compliant partners.

Gary Community Investments

Gary Community Investments, which includes the Delaware public benefit corporation known as the Gary Community Investments Company and The Piton Foundation, invests in for-profit and philanthropic solutions for Colorado’s low-income children and their families. It was founded by Denver oilman Sam Gary with the belief that business and philanthropy can—and should—work together to create opportunities for those who need it most. Gary Community Investments is committed to investing in quality early childhood and youth development systems, expanding sustainable economic opportunities, and developing and supporting programs that create healthy family and community environments. By aligning all of our assets with our mission, we make creative investments that not only yield a financial return, but can also improve the lives of Colorado’s children.

Clayton Early Learning

Clayton Early Learning is an innovation hub that fosters thriving, equitable communities by partnering with families to nurture a whole child, whole family approach to the early years, discover what works, and advance systems change. Committed to the belief that healthy early childhood development offers one of the most powerful levers for ending poverty and inequality, Clayton applies a unique two-generation approach that demonstrates what’s possible in the early years, and the positive impact that it has for children and families over time. Home to Colorado’s only Educare school, a nationally recognized model supporting children from birth to age five, and their families, Clayton also influences systems change through our research and evaluation services, professional development for educators and leaders, and policy and advocacy work at the state and federal levels. Visit www.claytonearlylearning.org for more information.


Gary Community Investments Announces COVIDCheck Colorado Partnerships with Three Adams County School Districts to Provide COVID-19 Testing, Symptom Tracking, and Contact Tracing to Support Full and Partial Return to In-Person Learning

Media Contact

Chyrise Harris
720-341-1723
charris@garycommunity.org


Gary Community Investments, which includes Gary Community Investment Company and The Piton Foundation, today announced that its social benefit enterprise known as COVIDCheck Colorado, will partner with three school districts in Adams County to provide access to COVID-19 testing, symptom tracking and contact tracing in an effort to support schools’ efforts to safely reopen this fall. The three districts include Mapleton Public Schools, 27J Schools, and Westminster Public Schools.

While districts are applying various approaches to re-opening, each district has committed to increase the health and safety of their school communities by providing teachers and staff access to a baseline COVID-19 test before returning to work, followed by ongoing testing once every two weeks, with additional opportunities to test anyone who presents symptoms throughout the school year.

“By committing to a comprehensive approach to COVID-19 testing, symptom tracking and contact tracing, these three Adams County school districts are demonstrating a level of leadership that tells their staff, students and families how deeply they care about their health and safety,” said Gary Community Investments CEO Mike Johnston. “And, they’re showing that in Adams County there is a plan and a path forward that makes it possible for school communities to safely reopen and re-engage in the quality teaching and learning that everyone desires.”

Similar to the partnership recently announced with Aurora Public Schools, district employees can sign up for an appointment to get tested for COVID-19 at a designated site and should receive results in 72 hours or less. Those who test positive for COVID-19 will receive a phone call from a telehealth provider who will offer support and guidance on self-isolation. As required by law, all positive cases will be reported to local public health agencies and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Those who have been exposed to the virus will be notified in accordance with the state’s contact tracing protocol and health privacy practices.

Additionally, COVIDCheck Colorado makes it possible for all individuals, students and staff to regularly track and report symptoms through a mobile-friendly website. Select district leaders will have access to a HIPAA-compliant dashboard displaying their district’s test results and symptom data to help stop potential outbreaks before they start.

“We are excited for the opportunity to partner with COVIDCheck Colorado,” said Dr. Chris Fiedler, superintendent, 27J Schools. “The ability to provide convenient COVID-19 testing to our staff members serves to further our efforts to meet and exceed safety guidelines. This county-wide partnership provides an added layer of protection to our staff and students as we continue to plan for safe and equitable school reopenings.”

In partnership with COVIDCheck Colorado, 27J Schools and Westminster Public Schoolswill open the school year based on guidelines from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment that suggest students under 10 return to in-person learning while older students are encouraged to adhere to social distancing and potentially participate in cohorts that rotate between days of remote and in-person learning.

*Westminster Public Schools plans to reopen schools in mid-August with in-person five-day a week instruction while also offering students the option to enroll in the Westminster K-12 Virtual Academy which will offer a comprehensive, high-quality online education.

“As we create a responsible reopening plan for Westminster Public Schools, the safety of our staff and students is our highest priority,” said Dr. Pamela Swanson, superintendent, Westminster Public Schools. “Being able to test our employees twice a month gives us an important tool as we battle this pandemic and attempt to meet the needs of our children, their families and our community. We are so appreciative of the support provided by COVIDCheck Colorado and Gary Community Investments. This is a perfect example of the public and private sector coming together to advance the greater good,” Swanson added.

Mapleton Public Schools plans to make a full return to in-person learning five days a week in August. “Our plan to reopen our schools prioritizes the health and safety of our students and staff,” said Charlotte Ciancio, superintendent, Mapleton Public Schools. “This partnership helps us remain proactive and provides an additional layer of protection to maintain a safe environment where the rewards of attending school outweigh the risks,” Ciancio added.

“We recognize that every district has different needs based on the size and composition of their population, and we’ve created COVIDCheck Colorado as a tool that can uniquely supplement any school’s plans to safely reopen,” said Johnston. “Whether a school chooses to fully return to in-person learning or implement a combination of in-person and remote learning, regular COVID-19 testing and symptom tracking can provide school and district leaders with the information they need to maintain the highest levels of health and safety for staff, students, and families,” said Johnston.

*Updated from an earlier version.

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About COVIDCheck Colorado

COVIDCheck Colorado is a social benefit enterprise of Gary Community Investment Company, which is part of the Gary Community Investments umbrella organization. It represents a philanthropic health consortium whose mission is to help Coloradans navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and get back to their community safely. COVIDCheck Colorado complements organizations’ strategies to reopen by providing access to accurate and affordable COVID-19 testing, symptom tracking and contact tracing tools to help Coloradans safely return to school, work and daily life. COVIDCheck Colorado works in accordance with guidelines from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment as well as an advisory board of public health leaders and HIPAA-compliant partners.

About Gary Community Investments

Gary Community Investments, which includes the Delaware public benefit corporation known as the Gary Community Investments Company and The Piton Foundation, invests in for-profit and philanthropic solutions for Colorado’s low-income children and their families. It was founded by Denver oilman Sam Gary with the belief that business and philanthropy can—and should—work together to create opportunities for those who need it most. Gary Community Investments is committed to investing in quality early childhood and youth development systems, expanding sustainable economic opportunities, and developing and supporting programs that create healthy family and community environments. By aligning all of our assets with our mission, we make creative investments that not only yield a financial return, but can also improve the lives of Colorado’s children.


Gary Community Investments Launches COVIDCheck Colorado to Help Employers Get Access to Rapid COVID-19 Testing, Symptom Tracking and Contact Tracing

Announces Partnership with Aurora Public Schools to Make Free Testing Available to All Teachers Every Two Weeks


Media Contacts

Chyrise Harris
720-341-1723
charris@garycommunity.org

Corey Christiansen
720-591-0140
cpchristiansen@aurorak12.org


[Denver, Colorado] – Gary Community Investments, which includes Gary Community Investments Company and The Piton Foundation, today announced the launch of COVIDCheck Colorado, a social benefit enterprise created to help Coloradans navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, get back to school and work safely, and reopen Colorado’s economy.

In collaboration with a variety of public health leaders and partners, COVIDCheck Colorado provides employers a comprehensive approach to fast, accurate and affordable COVID-19 testing, symptom tracking and contact tracing tools as a key component of their health and safety plans to reopen.

COVIDCheck Colorado provides an integrated platform where employees can sign up for a regularly scheduled appointment to get tested for COVID-19 at a designated site and receive rapid results. Those who test positive for COVID-19 will receive a phone call from a telehealth provider who will offer support and guidance on self-isolation. As required by law, all positive cases will be reported to local public health agencies and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Those who have been exposed to the virus will be notified in accordance with the state’s contact tracing protocol and health privacy practices.

Additionally, COVIDCheck Colorado also makes it possible for all individuals, students and staff to regularly track and report symptoms through a HIPAA-compliant downloadable app. Employers have access to a dashboard displaying their organization’s test results and symptom data to help stop potential outbreaks before they start.

As part of its launch, Gary Community Investments announced a partnership with Aurora Public Schools (APS) in an effort to support a safe return to in-person teaching and learning opportunities in the fall.

“At Gary Community Investments we’ve always been focused on providing opportunity to those who need it most,” said Gary Community Investments CEO Mike Johnston. “Right now schools need a comprehensive approach to COVID-19 testing, symptom tracking and contact tracing because that, combined with other health and safety practices, gives them the best chance at safely reopening, protecting staff and students, re-engaging those who benefit most from in-person learning, and restoring families’ ability to return to work.”


The use of COVIDCheck Colorado makes Aurora the first large school district in the state to provide regular and ongoing COVID-19 testing for all instructional staff. Each teacher will have access to testing every two weeks, with timely return of tests to assure accuracy and safety.


“APS’ Return-to-School Plan was based upon the best advice of district, local and national health professionals,” said Aurora Public Schools Superintendent Rico Munn. “We know that regular testing for COVID-19 and contact tracing will be a powerful tool for Aurora Public Schools in the coming months. As a district, we have developed school plans that allow us to re-engage in rigorous instruction while also protecting the health and safety of our staff, students and community. In the spirit of this shared commitment, we are grateful for the partnership with Gary Community Investments to make this aggressive testing program possible,” Munn added.


“The health and safety plans that APS has committed to demonstrate the kind of leadership and compassion that all Coloradans need right now,” said Johnston. “We’re honored to support their efforts to provide the most exceptional learning experience for their students and the highest levels of safety for their staff. We stand ready to support others across the state who want to reopen the doors of opportunity that have been closed to the most vulnerable since before this crisis began,” Johnston added.


About COVIDCheck Colorado

COVIDCheck Colorado is a social benefit enterprise of Gary Community Investments Company, which is part of the Gary Community Investments umbrella sito internet organization. It represents a philanthropic health consortium whose mission is to help Coloradans navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and get back to their community safely. COVIDCheck Colorado complements organizations’ strategies to reopen by providing access to accurate and affordable COVID-19 testing, symptom tracking and contact tracing tools to help Coloradans safely return to school, work and daily life. COVIDCheck Colorado works in accordance with guidelines from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment as well as an advisory board of public health leaders and HIPAA-compliant partners.

About Gary Community Investments

Gary Community Investments, which includes the Delaware public benefit corporation known as the Gary Community Investments Company and The Piton Foundation, invests in for-profit and philanthropic solutions for Colorado’s low-income children and their families. It was founded by Denver oilman Sam Gary with the belief that business and philanthropy can—and should—work together to create opportunities for those who need it most. Gary Community Investments is committed to investing in quality early childhood and youth development systems, expanding sustainable economic opportunities, and developing and supporting programs that create healthy family and community environments. By aligning all of our assets with our mission, we make creative investments that not only yield a financial return, but can also improve the lives of Colorado’s children.

About Aurora Public Schools

Aurora Public Schools is the fifth largest school district in Colorado. APS serves approximately 40,000 students and includes over 60 schools. It is one of the most diverse districts in the state with students from more than 130 countries who speak over 160 languages. Over the past several years, APS has made noteworthy improvements in graduation rates, dropout rates and overall student growth and achievement. In fact, since 2013, APS graduation rates have increased by nearly 25%. During that same period of time, its dropout rate has sharply declined from 4.8% to 2.6%. APS 2020 is the district’s strategic plan, which includes three strategic goals: 1) Every APS student will have a plan for his or her future, 2) Every student will have a set of skills to implement his or her plan and 3) Every student will have credentials that open doors. It is the district’s vision that every student shapes a successful future.

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COVIDCheck Colorado Announces Launch of Sites for Colorado Teachers to get Tested for COVID-19 Prior to Start of School Year

Gary Community Investments’ COVIDCheck Colorado is opening five sites along the Front Range for teachers and school district staff to get tested for COVID-19 prior to the start of the school year. Employees from Aurora Public Schools, Cherry Creek School District, Denver Public Schools, Englewood Schools, Mapleton Public Schools, Sheridan School District 2, Westminster Public Schools and 27J Schools will all gain access to free COVID-19 testing this week.

Members of the media are invited to the test site located at Hinkley High School in Aurora on Tuesday, August 11th at 12:30 p.m. MT to speak with leaders from COVIDCheck Colorado, Aurora Public Schools, Denver Public Schools and Cherry Creek School District, as they unite to provide educators access to semi-monthly COVID-19 testing. Following a brief press conference, opportunities to take photos and video of testing will be available. Media may set up photo and video shots directed toward testing lane four.

In addition to Hinkley High School on Tuesday, other sites open to participating district employees in the Denver metro area include Cherry Creek High School in Greenwood Village, North High School in Denver and Riverdale Ridge High School in Thornton. On Wednesday employees will have access to testing at All City Stadium near South High School in Denver.

Employees from all participating districts will have the ability to schedule a COVID-19 diagnostic test every two weeks at any of the above locations most convenient for them, regardless of district affiliation. Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will receive a phone call from a telehealth provider who will offer support and guidance on self-isolation. As required by law, all positive cases will be reported to local public health agencies and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Those who have been exposed to the virus will be notified in accordance with the state’s contact tracing protocol and health privacy practices.

In addition to regular COVID-19 testing, district employees will have access to a mobile-friendly website to track symptoms. This comprehensive approach to testing and symptom tracking aims to provide district leaders with timely information on the prevalence of COVID-19 within their school communities to help them make informed decisions on how to reopen safely and stop potential outbreaks before they start.What: Launch of COVIDCheck Colorado’s COVID-19 Test Sites for Teachers

When: August 11, 2020 | 12:30 p.m. MT
Where: Hinkley High School | 1250 Chambers Rd, Aurora, CO 80011| South Entrance, near stadium located at corner of Chambers Rd. and Chambers Court
Who: Interviews with Gary Community Investments CEO Mike Johnston, Aurora Public Schools Superintendent Rico Munn, Denver Public Schools Deputy Superintendent of Operations Mark Ferrandino and Cherry Creek School District Superintendent Scott Siegfried.