JCPS starts ‘Test to Play’ for student athletics, after school activities

Published: Nov. 1, 2021 at 2:03 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Jefferson County Public Schools are now testing all students involved in after-school activities for COVID-19.

Starting Monday, students will be tested weekly if they want to stay in their respective activities.

For many schools, testing has already become the norm. The district’s Test to Stay program was already implemented at schools across the district. It allows students who have been in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 to stay in class.

At Hartstern Elementary, students are used to the test.

”(The COVID test) doesn’t really hurt that much,” student Callie Coop said. “It just tickles.”

Now, JCPS will use the same testing methods and locations to determine if students can take part in extracurriculars.

“You never know a reason a kid comes to school,” Hartstern Elementary Principal Duan Wright said. “Sometimes it’s academic, it’s intrinsic. They love school, but sometimes you have kids that work hard so they can do those afternoon activities so they can stay on the basketball team, so their parents keep them enrolled in karate or things like that.”

Students like Coop will have to test negative in order to participate in athletics or any other after school activity. Coop is in the Backpack of Success Skills program, an after-school program that aims to provide skills and knowledge to students. She said she doesn’t mind going through this process.

”It doesn’t really bother me,” Coop said. “It’s just to make sure people are safe and make sure they can still learn.”

Students testing to play sports or partake in extracurriculars will test in the same place at the same time as students testing to stay in class.

“What we’re doing is just adding a few other kids to this list that we’re seeing here every Monday,” Wright said.

Students will have to get parental consent to participate in the Test to Play program.

“A lot of the kids you see here, their parents have had them enrolled in some of the community activities,” said Wright. “Some of these kids have been playing football, soccer. They’ve been in churches, playing basketball. So parents want to know (if their kids have COVID-19).”

Elementary schools will have testing sites available inside the building during class time. Middle and high schools will have drive-thru options in the afternoons and evenings once a week indefinitely.

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