The new program will offer school districts – including those in underserved areas – free resources such as COVID-19 testing, professional training for teachers, and other assets. The program already includes 14 school districts that represent about 35,000 teachers and school staff.
Participating school districts include ones in both rural and urban areas, from the Valley as well as Tucson, Flagstaff, Globe, Miami and Yuma.
“We must find ways to live with the virus; we can’t just sit and wait it out,’’ ASU President Michael M. Crow said. “That is especially true in K-12 schools. Having schools and classrooms open is critical to the long-term academic, emotional, social and economic success of thousands of our youth.
“The challenges are daunting, for schools and teachers and families alike. We want to do anything we can to help. That’s why we created this COVID-19 school support program designed to help K-12 schools and districts around the state, and beyond.”
ASU’s goal is to offer the districts surveillance testing to randomly select and then test about 20% of their employees each week. The surveillance testing is considered an important tool for districts to identify asymptomatic cases and provide district leadership with real-time data on community prevalence of COVID-19 to inform their decision making. The testing program includes:
- Priority registration for district teachers and staff at seven existing ASU/ADHS public testing sites, and expanded hours to handle the increased tests.
- Opening eight new testing sites in underserved areas to increase testing in Chandler, Flagstaff, Globe/Miami, south Phoenix, Tempe, Tucson and Yuma.
- Working with partners such as Chicanos Por La Causa to provide on-site testing for two school districts where the majority of staff cannot access drive-thru testing.
- Providing employees of the participating districts with access to testing at any ASU/ADHS testing site in Arizona.
The increased testing will help the districts better understand the prevalence of COVID-19 within schools and surrounding communities. The 14 participating K-12 school districts also can choose from a menu of free assets, including “Community of Care” marketing and communications materials to help increase awareness and communicate the systems and public health protocols each district implements to reduce community spread on campus.
ASU hopes to expand the testing to other school districts, and to eventually make the testing available to others such as students and parents.
The new health program is the latest way the university is helping the community and Arizona schools. In addition, ASU’s educational assets have now been accessed in 330 school districts and more than 1,000 schools.
Participating school districts:
- Amphitheater School District
- Avondale Elementary
- Cartwright School District
- Chandler Unified School District
- Flagstaff Unified School District
- Glendale Elementary School District
- Globe Unified School District
- Mesa Unified School District
- Miami Unified School District
- Roosevelt School District
- Tempe Elementary School District
- Tucson Unified School District
- Yuma Elementary School District
- Vista College Preparatory