COVID testing underway at Shelby County Schools; more than 1,000 tested

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Bonn, Germany – April 16: In this photo illustration a girl with a covid 19 Rapid test presenting a Cotton swab on April 16, 2021 in Bonn, Germany. (Photo by Ute Grabowsky/Photothek via Getty Images)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County Schools’ Mobile COVID Testing Vehicle is on the road, now ready to offer free COVID tests to those who want them.

With a new school year underway, testing is front and center to keep things safe. The testing is not required for students and teachers, but offered.

Monday more than 1,000 students were tested.

“This is that assurance testing you guys have heard about. Assurance testing is for asymptomatic people who want to voluntarily get a swab test,” said Dr. John Baker, Deputy Superintendent for Strategic Operations and Finance at Shelby County Schools.

Now the school system’s executive staff is required to be tested weekly for COVID. The school system says it’s another layer of safety as the executive team is out visiting schools.

“We are doing everything we can do to keep children safe to not shut down any school for the virus,” said Shelby County Schools Superintendent Joris Ray.

SCS had been planning this testing for months, district leaders said, and it’s not because of any outbreak of COVID in any particular department.

But they confirmed there have been cases of COVID that have developed, with more expected now that schools have reopened.

The district has been reporting positive cases to the state since last March.

The testing comes as more school buildings open for the first time and students, teachers and staff are back together. When parents and volunteers enter school buildings, they too will have to follow protocol.

“As long as you enter into the building wearing a mask. We want volunteers, but volunteers that are following safety protocols at all times,” said Ray.
  

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