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Voluntary COVID-19 Testing Program

The Barrow County School System is starting a voluntary, weekly COVID-19 testing program to help keep our students, staff, and community safe and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. It is important to remember the pandemic is not over, especially as we’ve seen the Omicron variant spread quickly. We must keep a relentless focus on doing whatever we can to keep our schools safe.

Regular COVID-19 testing of students and staff will help us lower the risk of the disease in our school by identifying positive cases of COVID-19 quickly. Testing will allow us to have regular in-person learning while making everyone safer.

How can studentS or STAFF participate in the program?

The testing program for students and staff is voluntary, and parent or guardian consent is required for students. You only need to sign up once for the weekly testing. To sign up for the program, staff can use the green button below and then select their work location. Parents can register their child to participate by clicking the green button, selecting their child's school, and completing the consent form. The more students and staff who participate, the safer our schools will be!

What is the COVID-19 voluntary testing program?

  • Participating students and staff will be tested for COVID-19 once a week.
  • The program starts the week of January 31, 2022. (You can sign up at any time.)
  • The PCR test is performed at your child’s school or employee work location.
  • The COVID-19 test is quick, easy, and it does not hurt. A nasal test gently swabs the lower inner nostril. 
  • Testing is sent to the lab. Lab results are sent to the parent or employee within 24 hours. No news is good news. If you do not hear back about test results, you can assume a test was negative.
  • The test is free. You do not need to pay for the test or have insurance to get the test.
  • The program is optional, but we hope you will participate to help us stop the spread of COVID-19.

Why is BCSS implementing a voluntary COVID-19 testing program?

School COVID-19 testing is one more layer of protection that helps us attend school in person safely, keep our schools open, and allow our kids to keep doing the activities they love - safely.

  • Regular COVID-19 testing can quickly detect, trace, and isolate COVID-19 positive individuals. This will help us lower the risk of transmission.
  • Testing is quick and easy and is not painful or invasive.
  • Participating in the testing program is free and voluntary. Click the green button to sign up.
  • Guardians need to sign a one-time consent form for their students to participate in the school COVID-19 testing program. Staff must complete the consent form.
  • This is not a mandatory testing program. Students and staff may choose to join or end their participation at any time.

Top 3 Reasons to Test

School COVID-19 testing programs …

… help prevent COVID-19 spread in school.
School COVID-19 testing programs reliably catch cases in those without symptoms that otherwise might have gone unnoticed. By isolating those individuals before they have a chance to infect others, school COVID-19 testing programs reduce school closures and enable more sustainable in-person learning.

 … build confidence among families and staff that returning to school is safe.
School screening programs help reassure families that schools are safe places to learn.

 … protect the broader community.
By increasing the testing resources in the community, school COVID-19 testing programs enable students and families to protect their family, friends, and community. The program also provides more information for local public health leaders to continue fighting the virus.

Nearly half of all COVID-19 infections are transmitted by people who are not showing any symptoms. A positive test early in the course of the illness enables individuals to isolate themselves, which reduces the chance that they will infect others. Early testing and results also allow them to seek treatment earlier.

We remain committed and tirelessly focused to keep our schools operating effectively and safely. A critical element to achieving this outcome is the implementation of multifaceted and concurrent mitigation steps. The development and rollout of the vaccine has provided an additional layer of defense and contributed to the decline in cases over time. We encourage all students and staff to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Testing Process

The testing process is fast, easy, and does not hurt. Here are two short videos that demonstrate the testing process.

As you can see, testing is quick and easy so it will only take a few moments once a week to complete.

Remember that “no news is good news.” If you don’t hear back about test results, you can assume the test is negative. If it is positive, you will be contacted immediately by your school with steps for isolating at home.

FAQ

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