Ohio Launches COVID-19 Screening Program for K-12 Students and Staff
ReadyCheckGo program supports safe return to in-person learning
Columbus, Ohio -- A new K-12 screening pilot, initiated by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and administered by Thermo Fisher Scientific and Color Health, will provide testing to students, teachers and staff for COVID-19 on a weekly basis to help ensure safer in-person learning.
The ReadyCheckGo testing program is now underway at the LEAP Academy in Cincinnati and the Ohio School for the Deaf and Ohio School for the Blind, both in Columbus. The first round of testing began today and continues through the end of the school year. Ohio is the first state to participate in this new nationwide testing program.
The program provides school districts with testing options that are turnkey, economical, highly sensitive and accurate and easy to implement. Samples are collected using a single or pooled swab format and will be sent to certified labs at Dayton Children's Hospital, Ohio State University and Ohio Department of Health laboratories. The program is being funded by Gov. DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health, using money allocated by the Biden Administration to help states administer screening testing programs in support of U.S. efforts to return to in-person classroom instruction.
'Safely reopening Ohio's K-12 schools for full-time, in-person learning is critical for our students' academic success and their mental health and well-being,' said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. 'This testing program, coupled with vaccination for staff and eligible students and ongoing prevention measures, is another tool to help teachers and students feel confident they are safe in the classroom.'
Thermo Fisher developed the ReadyCheckGo testing program in partnership with Color Health, which brings extensive experience and a comprehensive software platform that streamlines registration, consent, sample management and reporting. Color currently supports similar testing programs in schools and higher education institutions across the country. ReadyCheckGo removes the complexities and logistical burdens that schools have been facing as they launch COVID-19 testing programs and delivers a turnkey program that leverages Thermo Fisher Scientific's testing expertise and existing network of labs to deliver PCR-based testing at scale.
The ReadyCheckGo testing program is the second collaboration between Thermo Fisher and Governor DeWine's office. In April 2020, Thermo Fisher supported the scale-up of labs across the state to support the dramatic increases in COVID-19 testing during the height of the pandemic. That same laboratory infrastructure is now being used to support the ReadyCheckGo program.
'It's time to get students back to in-person learning, but it must be done safely,' said Mark Stevenson, executive vice president and chief operations officer of Thermo Fisher. 'The ReadyCheckGo testing program is an important step in making this happen and we're pleased to once again partner with Governor DeWine and his team. He's recognized the need for broad-based testing and done a great job providing Ohioans access to it.'
'We know from experience that a convenient, sustainable testing program in K-12 schools is the most effective way to reduce the risk of a campus outbreak,' said Othman Laraki, CEO of Color Health. 'The key is to reduce the logistical burdens on schools and staff - and make testing so easy for schools and families that it disappears into the background. Governor DeWine is demonstrating the type of innovative approach needed to help our communities get back to normal.'
About Thermo Fisher Scientific
Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. is the world leader in serving science, with annual revenue exceeding $30 billion. Our Mission is to enable our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer. Whether our customers are accelerating life sciences research, solving complex analytical challenges, improving patient diagnostics and therapies or increasing productivity in their laboratories, we are here to support them. Our global team of more than 80,000 colleagues delivers an unrivaled combination of innovative technologies, purchasing convenience and pharmaceutical services through our industry-leading brands, including Thermo Scientific, Applied Biosystems, Invitrogen, Fisher Scientific, Unity Lab Services and Patheon.
About Color Health
Color is a leader in distributed healthcare and clinical testing. Color makes population-scale healthcare programs accessible, convenient, and cost-effective for everyone. Color works with health systems, employers, and national health initiatives around the world, including the million-person All of Us Research Program by the National Institutes of Health. For more information about Color and its response to COVID-19, visit www.color.com.