Since mid-October, the Taskforce Initiative for Educator Safety and Screening (T.I.E.S.) has been working with several districts across the State of Nevada to provide free testing and symptoms monitoring for COVID-19. The goal of T.I.E.S. is to prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in Nevada’s public schools. The Nevada Department of Education (NDE) has partnered with THT Health, who created the T.I.E.S. program for Clark County School District (CCSD) and expanded it Statewide. CCSD, the fifth largest district in the nation, implemented the T.I.E.S. program kicked off on Wednesday, December 2, 2020.
“The goal of T.I.E.S is to test and monitor employee symptoms and provide positive test results to local health authorities to assist in their contact tracing efforts. Since mid-October, T.I.E.S. has offered the testing program to 5,500 Nevada public school employees spread across nine rural school districts and the State Public Charter School Authority. To date, 58 T.I.E.S. participants have tested positive, gone through triage, and been integrated into contact tracing. Additionally, 240 participants have reported exposure to COVID-19, all of whom have been offered free testing through T.I.E.S. With the introduction of T.I.E.S. to CCSD, T.I.E.S. will be available to an additional 42,000 public school employees. All employees are encouraged to participate. If each employee gets tested and closely monitors their own symptoms, exposure, and temperature on a daily basis, employees can identify their own personal risks, seek immediate medical attention, and take necessary precautions to keep themselves and others safe. T.I.E.S. and CCSD can then work collaboratively to ensure that employees with symptoms get tested and isolate and those who are recently exposed get tested and quarantined.
“These measures will ensure the safety of the entire Clark County community. By getting teachers to test and monitor their symptoms now, they will establish good public health habits that will support reopening of schools in 2021. Furthermore, when a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, T.I.E.S. can support the next phase of the pandemic response and help our educators return to some level of normalcy with lower risk,” said Michael Skolnik, Chief Executive Officer of THT Health. Skolnik has more than 22-years’ experience working in the public health sector.
“On behalf of Nevada’s school communities, I want to thank Governor Sisolak and the Nevada Legislature for their investment in this tremendous resource,” said Jhone Ebert, State Superintendent of Public Instruction. “We are so pleased that all CCSD school staff, including bus drivers, administrative support, and others, will have access to these preventative services to help keep our staff, students, and families safe and healthy.”
“Our employees’ health and well-being is top of mind as we work toward eventually returning to the classroom. This program is another step in the right direction for the safety of all employees,” said CCSD Superintendent Dr. Jesus F. Jara. “I am grateful to the Nevada Department of Education for funding T.I.E.S., which is led by THT Health and available to teachers, support professionals, administrators, and temporary employees with free voluntary COVID-19 testing and digital tools to help them monitor their COVID-related health risks on a daily basis.”
With an unknown timeline for a safe and scientifically accepted COVID-19 vaccine, the T.I.E.S. coalition will continue to monitor and assess active COVID-19 exposure, infection, partial immunity, or assumed risk based on symptoms. T.I.E.S. will continue to work collaboratively with State and local governments to update and modify the testing and screening approach to take full advantage of proven and innovative methods as they become available.
Funding for the T.I.E.S. testing program was made possible by a State allocation of federal CARES Act funding through December 30, 2020. Continued funding of T.I.E.S. is dependent on future Federal and State allocations of CARES Act dollars.
On Wednesday, December, 2, 2020, all CCSD educators and staff received an email invitation to register, enroll, and begin the T.I.E.S. self-monitoring and testing program via the emocha mobile app, which complies with the privacy expectations of HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). To learn more about the purpose of the T.I.E.S. program and why increased participation is essential to its success, visit https://www.nevadaties.org/ or email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About T.I.E.S., a Task Force Initiative for Educator Safety & Screening Coalition:
A coalition of partners to support schools for a safe reopening. T.I.E.S. (Taskforce Initiative for Educator Safety and Screening) is a program developed and administered by THT Health to facilitate school reopening, COVID-19 testing, and symptoms monitoring through a comprehensive, evidence-based, and agile approach. Our goal is to minimize risk and keep teachers, faculty, staff, and students as safe as possible throughout the state of Nevada.