New test-to-stay program offers daily COVID-19 tests for students identified as close contacts

COVID-19 test
Posted at 5:58 AM, Oct 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-18 06:57:37-04

(WXYZ) — With more COVID-19 outbreaks happening in schools, more students are being told to stay home and quarantine.

Some districts are taking a different approach as part of a push to keep kids in the classroom.

The state health and human services department rolled out the plan to counties, giving them the green light to pass it on to superintendents.

Not all schools are participating in the program, but the testing program is for students who are identified as close contact cases and it's for children and teachers.

In Saline, elementary school students who are identified as close contacts in the classroom and unvaccinated will have a rapid COVID-19 test three times per week, and the students will have to wear masks.

The program is provided through the Washtenaw County Health Department, but they've had some problems on the technology side with this program

"Like who gets notified, when they get notified, things of that nature," Washtenaw County Acting Medical Director Dr. Juan Marquez said. "Then blending that with some of the internal health processes so there have been a few bumps along the way."

Washtenaw County schools can participate in the test-to-stay program because the county has a mask mandate for grades K-12.

But, if families don't want to participate in the process, then the student will have to quarantine for 10 days, or seven days if they test negative.

Other districts require more tests, but Superintendent Steve Laatsch said it will help kids not fall behind and keep them in the classroom.

"It's going well. We've had good success with this so far. It's meeting our goal of keeping as many students in school five days per week as possible," Laatsch said.

But the largest district in the program, Ann Arbor Public Schools, is not participating. The district is looking towards potentially using this program in the future.

On Monday, Hazel Park schools have implemented the test-to-stay quarantine option. This involves daily rapid COVID-19 test for seven days and the ability to be in the classroom, provided they test negative.

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