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Ask the hard questions

Aspen School District Staff, students and citizens of Pitkin County are the beneficiaries of a new and robust testing program. Kudos to a group of citizens who made this happen in light of slow or no response from Pitkin County Health Department. This newspaper has not done its job of shedding light on the “barriers” to rapid testing in this community. A vague, uninformative article was published Nov 1. Fortunately, the competing newspaper had more specific details to offer the public.

According to Aspen Daily News (Nov. 1) an agreement to provide testing was made between the state of Colorado and some very motivated citizens for the benefit of our community. Curative an LA-based testing company was approached by Aspen resident, RN Bari Ramberg, supported by Drs. Jeanne Seybold and Christa Geizel (who sit on an advisory board of BOH). The fact that they had to go directly to the CDHPE is stunning. That it took them so little time to make this agreement is also amazing.

On Tuesday, ASD started an aggressive plan to distribute 1,800 tests per week to staff and students. The real question is why did it take so long?

Pitkin County commissioners tout transparency in their response to this health crisis. However, the discussion of this particular testing plan was done during an executive session at the Oct. 29 meeting. No transparency there. Thankfully several key players acted quickly to ensure this plan would spring to action. We thank Sara Ott (city manager) Katy Frisch (ASD board member) Cynthia Chase (AEF) and Dave Baugh (ASD superintendent) who showed leadership in their rapid response to implement this program.

While the current Pitkin County commissioners pat themselves on the back for a job well done, our COVID-19 cases continue to rise, and they don’t have a plan for winter. The Pitkin Board of Health has created non-data based restrictions and The Aspen Times writes fluffy vague articles, without asking the hard questions. What is really going on here? Identifying the barriers, will help all of us create solutions. Please help!

Joan Valentine

Aspen


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