KY schools plan to ‘test to stay’ in mid-quarantines
FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) – “Test to Stay” is a new option that districts have in their toolbox, in part thanks to a law passed last week in the special session. While some superintendents are not sure, others welcome any alternative to quarantines.
Franklin County Schools is one of those school districts that are considering alternatives such as “test to stay” mentioned by lawmakers in their special session.
“It’s not a mandate, but it’s something we considered doing before the legislative session,” said Superintendent Mark Kopp. “It’s just now, we’ve had this other business that started reaching out and maybe as a result of this legislative action. So it was, to say the least, a fortuitous moment.”
They are particularly considering options because one week after the start of the school year, they made the difficult choice to use 5 days of non-traditional education (NTI). More than 100 people tested positive for COVID and 700 quarantined in their school system.
“It’s a very high percentage, and when that starts to impact the ability to bring in substitute teachers and cover classes,” Kopp said.
With Labor Day so close, they thought it was time to reset. But quarantines have made their job more difficult.
“It’s difficult for school teams, who are trying to manage the number of people they have to contact and let it be known that their child has been quarantined, especially when sometimes they may not hear of a positive case. that a day later when the test results come back And then the action of going back to find the contacts, and we want to do all of these things to keep our kids safe, but it’s a very laborious process ” said Deputy Superintendent Sharla Six.
Instead of quarantining everyone within a three-foot radius for more than 15 minutes, the ‘test and stay’ option would give asymptomatic students the opportunity to test negative for a certain number of days and stay at home. school. There would be rapid tests in each of the schools for students exposed to COVID.
There are a number of concerns about the accuracy of rapid tests, but Kopp says it will be a good additional resource.
“Testing is just a mitigation strategy, it’s not the end. But it gives us a lot of very important data that we can then make decisions about to protect the safety of our students and staff,” Kopp said.
Franklin County Schools are in talks with three separate testing companies to offer not only the test program to stay, but more options for students and staff in general.