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The Kirby Foundation and Local Supporters Ensure Reliable, Accessible Testing

  • Category: Blog
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  • Written By: Kirby Medical Center

The Kirby Foundation and Local Supporters Ensure Reliable, Accessible Testing

The Kirby COVID-19 school testing program plays a vital role in keeping communities strong and healthy.

As school administrators struggled to keep students showing single coronavirus symptoms in the classroom this past year, Kirby Medical Center decided to lead a community effort to provide free rapid COVID-19 testing.

This initiative allowed students and faculty at Argenta-Oreana, Atwood-Hammond-Arthur-Lovington, Bement, Blue Ridge, Cerro Gordo, Deland-Weldon and Monticello school districts to receive test results in 24 hours or less. Quick testing kept communities thriving and healthy by dramatically reducing unnecessary quarantine time, keeping students and staff in the classroom and allowing parents to remain at work. Thanks to the generosity of Kirby Medical Center, community members, area businesses and school district foundations, The Kirby Foundation was able to support this testing program throughout the entire 2020-2021 academic year.

“The Kirby Rapid Testing Program was integral in keeping our students and staff in school this year. Without this program, our students/staff would have been out of school for 3-6 days while waiting for testing results, over 95% of which have come back negative. Additionally, the convenience of local testing made it easy for parents and students. They did not have to go out of town for testing. Kirby continues to be an excellent partner with our schools, and we look forward to continuing our positive relationship in the future,” says Dr. Vic Zimmerman, Superintendent of the Monticello School District.

Testing resources were invaluable to students, staff, parents, businesses and local communities.

All school districts involved in the program worked together to keep testing accessible and running smoothly – to ensure students were able to receive the best education possible. As of April 30, 2021, 3,417 tests had been conducted (379 staff tests and 3,038 student tests), averaging 131 tests per week. An estimated 19,476 school and work days have been saved.

“The opportunity to have our staff and students tested for COVID-19 through Kirby has contributed greatly to our ability to maintain in-person learning for the entire 2020-2021 school year. Our students and staff have been able to access testing and receive results through a very convenient and rapid process, which has allowed those who tested negative to return to school in a timely manner. The communities that Arthur CUSD #305 serves express a sincere thanks,” says Shannon Cheek, Superintendent of the Arthur CUSD #305.

“Supporters have given nearly $75,000 to this initiative during the school year. The Kirby Foundation and Kirby Medical Center are humbled by the support and contributions from the community to keep our communities strong and safe,” says Kirby Medical Center CEO Steve Tenhouse.

Testing Fast Facts