School districts implementing ‘test to stay’ policies to keep students out of quarantine

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 1:32 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 13, 2021 at 5:41 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - After the passing of Senate Bill 1 (House Bill 1) during a special legislative session in Kentucky, the power to create and enforce COVID-19 guidelines returned to individual districts. With that, many mask mandates have stayed in place, and more mitigation efforts have come forward to keep students in the classroom and out of quarantine.

Hardin County Schools, for example, are the latest to implement ‘test to stay,’ meaning if students pass a rapid COVID test for each of the five days after exposure to the virus, they can stay in class that whole time.

“We have about 700-1100 students in quarantine on a daily basis across the district,” said John Wright, a Hardin County Schools spokesman, “and we have about 15,000 students, so you can do the math.”

That math is this: that’s about 1 out of every 15 students out of school on any given day because they were exposed to someone with COVID-19; not because they have COVID-19. Now, they have the option of getting a test each of the five days and staying in school if they opt to do that. Otherwise, those students would have wait the full five day quarantine and then get tested.

“If little Johnny, for example comes in contact with 10 people in the cafeteria, then that’s 10 young students that won’t be in class,” said Wright, “but if we can get seven of them to test to stay - and they’re negative each day, then that’s seven of those 10 that are back in class.”

Students that are testing to stay must be brought directly to the school’s designated testing area upon arrival to school. After a negative test, they can go to class.

More information for Hardin County Parents can be found here.

Oldham County Schools have implemented something similar with designated testing sites students must go to (here’s a list of those locations with more information).

OCS said only 2% of students that quarantine end up with positive COVID-19 results. That’s why they want to provide an opportunity for students to stay in school.

Test to stay is not mandatory for either Hardin of Oldham County Schools.

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