A couple weeks into the second semester, Adams 12 Five Star Schools is testing more students, vaccinating more staff and seeking new ways to support students academically in a difficult moment.
At a Feb. 3 board of education meeting, Superintendent Chris Gdowski gave an update on efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 in schools. The board also unanimously passed a resolution calling for the suspension of state standardized testing.
More than 500 students are quarantining as of Feb. 8, the district’s COVID-19 tracker reports. To detect more cases, Gdowski said Adams 12 is testing people in two new ways. The district has expanded the regular, saliva-based testing by sending mobile teams to two schools per day to test students and staff who are interested. Gdowski said a goal is to identify more cases among high school athletes.
There is also the new BinaxNow testing program that ships self-administered tests to homes of educators. State health officials recently launched the BinaxNow program and excitedly so. Gov. Jared Polis Tweeted out a photo of him hand delivering BinaxNow kits to two Adams 12 teachers.
“Testing is one place where we feel like we’re better equipped than we were before,” Gdowski said at the Feb. 3 meeting.
Meanwhile, the district is vaccinating more staff, specifically nurses and health aides, paraprofessionals and some teachers over the age of 70. The majority of teachers haven’t received the vaccine yet. As of Feb. 3, 600 staff members have received the vaccine through Broomfield Public Health and Environment and the Thornton Fire Department.
Later, the board passed a resolution calling for the suspension of standardized testing amidst concerns about learning during the pandemic. People across the state are concerned that preparation for testing will take away from limited classroom time.
Not all parents are on board, though, a recent survey found. Students would also have to turn in and later pick up their Chromebooks after staff have uploaded testing software to the devices.
“We are very dedicated to making sure to know how our kids do … But in this case, with the disruptions to learning that have taken place, we’re not sure it would be an accurate measure,” said Board President Kathy Plomer.
Boards at nearby Westminster Public Schools and 27J Schools recently passed similar resolutions. The resolution isn’t much more than a statement. However, state legislators are planning to introduce a bill in the upcoming session to direct state education officials to officially suspend testing.