Last updated March 2, 2021.
Starting March 1, Colorado is distributing free BinaxNOW COVID-19 Rapid Antigen tests to all schools in Colorado that are participating in the School Mask Program, for use in schools for students. This effort supports the State’s ongoing commitment to provide resources to control and stop the spread of the virus. The need for additional and increased testing in schools was one of the primary recommendations included in the “Roadmap to In-Person Learning” report published by the “Back-to-School Working Group.” The document captures best practices to help children of all ages remain in school as safely as possible.
Testing through the Binax At-School program can be conducted on those students who are symptomatic, have been exposed to someone who has tested positive, or administered on a continuous basis for screening of asymptomatic students. CDPHE is providing these free resources to schools to increase safety of in-person learning and to help decrease transmission rates of COVID-19 in your communities.
Developed by Abbott, the BinaxNOW test offers reliable, rapid testing for use in facilities with a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) waiver. The State has acquired a CLIA waiver under which all PK-12 schools in Colorado can use this test. Tests are packaged in boxes of 40 and ship directly to facilities who are approved for use. The tests can be administered by anyone who completes Abbott’s online training. PPE is required for those administering the tests to others, and all tests should be disposed of as biohazard waste.
How it will work
Once the test kits are received, schools and districts may decide how they will administer tests to students at their location. Examples may include prioritizing student athletes or 9-12th grade students.
Test results are available within 15 minutes, and school personnel receive resources and support to report results of those tests to guardians and through the CDPHE reporting portal. Additional shipments of tests will continue to the district or school monthly for 3 months (test allocations may vary after the first shipment based on available supply).