JCPS ‘Test to Stay’ and ‘Test to Play’ programs would involve more COVID testing, fewer quarantined students

Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 5:34 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Jefferson County Public School students could soon be subject to more rounds of testing in the form of “Test to Stay” and “Test to Play” programs.

The programs, which would subject students to more routine COVID-19 testing, are designed to reduce the number of students forced to quarantine after coming into close contact with another individual who tests positive for the virus.

In order to be enacted, both programs would have to be passed by the Jefferson County Public Schools Board of Education.

If passed, “Test to Play” would mandate all student athletes take weekly, rapid COVID-19 tests at their schools. If students miss the day of regular testing at their school, they may attend testing that is offered daily at middle and high schools and other sites after school free of charge.

After school testing sites will have afternoon and evening hours that run during these three separate time periods, depending on the schools:

— 3 p.m.-7 p.m.

— 3:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.

— 4:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.

The test results will be made available to the student on the same day as the test. The students’ schools will be notified and document the results through a district-provided portal.

Students may also get a test from another medical source at their own expense. The test should be an FDA-approved rapid antigen test, and be performed by a licensed healthcare provider or appropriately trained personnel. Students who get a test from another medical source must provide their negative results to their school.

The “Test to Stay” program is designed for asymptomatic students who come into close contact with someone else who tests positive for COVID-19. Usually, those students would be forced to quarantine for a set period of time. However, with “Test to Stay” those students would be able to take daily, rapid tests the night before school and return to the classroom.

Test results will be made available to the student on the same day as the test, and a negative result must be received before the individual attends school or work, participates in school activities, or rides the bus. Student athletes must test negative for COVID-19 before a game in order to participate.

If students or employees return to school, they must wear a mask indoors for the entirety of the program, even if all test results are negative.

According to the CDC, a student or employee who lives with someone who is positive for COVID-19 and cannot quarantine away from the positive case is a risk for spreading COVID-19 and therefore, is not eligible for participation in the program.

If an individual chooses not to participate in the “Test to Stay” program, quarantining is still required.

Quarantine may be discontinued for the following reasons:

● After day seven, if a person is symptom-free and receives a negative COVID-19 test 5 days or later after the last date of exposure to the case

● After day 10 without testing if the individual is symptom-free

● When health providers determine the individual is safe to be around others

Fully-vaccinated students and employees do not need to quarantine following an exposure to a person diagnosed with COVID-19 if they are not experiencing symptoms but are recommended to be tested three to five days after exposure.

People who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days and have recovered do not need to quarantine if they’ve been exposed to another positive case unless they are experiencing symptoms and have been ordered to quarantine by a health professional.

“Test to Stay” participants must follow the protocol listed below:

● Testing is required the night before a school or work day. For example, on a typical week, the student or employee would need to test Sunday through Thursday night to attend school or work the next day. Friday night is not required because students don’t attend school on Saturday. Testing should be performed daily through day seven after an exposure. If Day seven is on a weekend or holiday, a test must be completed the day prior to the return to school. Quarantining can stop on day eight if all results are negative.

As of Tuesday morning, 19,253 of the roughly 96,000 JCPS students were in quarantine.

The JCPS Board of Education is scheduled to vote on the programs Tuesday night.

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