Jasper County Schools Community Unit School District 1 has recently announced its partnership with Jasper County Health Department and St. Joseph Renewable Fuels “drop-in” diesel project, to provide one of the first volunteer school and student COVID-19 testing programs. In recent months, the number of COVID-19 cases has risen dramatically across the country, significantly impacting the state’s healthcare institutions and school districts. In response, the CDC has asked states to increase testing locations in an effort to track and reduce the number of new COVID-19 cases. Geoff Hirson, Chief Executive Officer at St Joseph Renewable Fuels LLC, understands the importance of community aid. After seeing various Illinois newspapers reporting more than 100 new daily cases of COVID-19 in August, Geoff Hirson provided St. Joseph Renewable Fuels LLC resources to Jasper County school district to help build the HealthCheckIn program and aid in Jasper County’s fight against the coronavirus.
One of the largest geographic districts in Illinois covering more than 450 miles, Jasper County school district is home to more than 1400 students and 90 teachers. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Jasper County has seen more than 1000 cases of COVID-19 resulting in 15 deaths. Lake Zurich School District 95, a school district within the Greater Chicago area, responded to an increase in cases by requiring emergency testing for students in faculty in late July. Jasper County, however, is asking students, teachers, and administrators to participate in routine, volunteer testing throughout the next few months. Plans for a larger, full-scale pilot following the “HealthCheckIn” program have been announced, with county resident testing continuing for potentially another five years.
Jasper community member’s COVID-19 test results will be shared on the HealthCheckIn program’s app and website. The HealthCheckIn app tracks, updates, and alerts any user who has recently come into contact with a COVID-19 positive individual. Currently, the HealthCheckIn has more than 36 volunteers who will be frequently tested in the upcoming months.
The HealthCheckIn program members hope to use the data gathered to inform other school districts and health departments of new cases in an effort to reduce the growing number of positive cases in the area. To date, one of the most common ways the COVID-19 virus is transmitted is through a-symptomatic. By increasing COVID-19 testing, the Jasper County school district will be able to limit the cases of asymptotic exposure and help prevent an increase in infection rates.