Some Triad schools opting into state COVID-19 testing program

Piedmont Triad News

(WGHP) — Several Triad school districts, including Guilford County plan to opt into COVID testing programs offered by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

A spokesperson for Guilford County Schools said Tuesday weekly testing is required for unvaccinated athletes and students participating in other high-risk extracurricular activities, like band.

The district has not made a decision on diagnostic testing yet. Guilford County is using the state vendor for the area, not school nurses, according to a spokesperson.

The state-selected vendor will provide tests, staff, and IT platform for results.

Mount Airy City Schools will also mandate testing for unvaccinated student-athletes at the beginning of their seasons, and before playoffs.

“The guidance is if we are in red, we want to test them. And right now we are in red, we are looking again at testing before the playoffs, for sure, because we don’t want someone to miss a state championship because we had to quarantine the team,” said Dr. Kim Morrison, superintendent for Mount Airy City Schools.

Mount Airy City was one of the only Triad districts to participate in the state’s pilot testing program last school year, testing students who showed COVID symptoms in the classroom.

“We used around 500 between the time it was open to us, and about halfway through the second semester. Five-hundred is a lot when you’re a smaller district, but people had a peace of mind because they were able to check it quickly,” Morrison said.

She explained that about 25 percent of those tests lead to a positive COVID case. The district plans to continue offering free diagnostic tests again this year through NCDHHS.

A spokesperson for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools said a committee discussed the state program Tuesday afternoon.

None of the other Triad districts are on the list for testing by NCDHHS so far. They have until Sept. 13 to opt into one of two testing programs.

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