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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) —  After stories of lines where people waited upwards of three hours to get a COVID test, Guilford County Schools has begun to offer free COVID testing for students and faculty for the week of Jan. 4-7.

Twice a day, tests will be administered at the campuses of Andrews, Grimsley and Dudley to GCS individuals only. 

This will be between 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.  

The tests will be administered with the hope they will ease the minds of students and faculty members amid a spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.  

On Monday, Guilford County Schools held a joint news conference with Dr. Vann with the county’s health department.  

Superintendent Dr. Sharon Contreras shared that 80% of the faculty has been vaccinated, and 65% of bus drivers have been vaccinated.  

However, there are still high numbers of teachers and bus drivers who have had to call in sick with no substitute teachers to fill their places.  

On Tuesday, 355 teachers were out, and 200 classes did not have substitutes. While that number is on-par with what is typically seen, those classes without subs had to be filled with other faculty members and office workers staffing those places.  

“Some classrooms or schools will have to close simply because we do not have enough people to provide enough instructions,” Dr. Contreras said. “It is also possible that we will not have enough bus drivers to transport children to and from school.”  

The idea is to keep students in school through the semester, but a backup plan is in place if there needs to be a rollback of remote learning. This will not be a district-wide move but rather a case-by-case basis for each campus.  

“I cannot think of a situation I can recommend that would close schools unless Dr. Vann said to me that the situation is so dire,” the superintendent explained.