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Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools votes to delay mandatory COVID-19 testing

The district already worked out a plan to test students in extracurriculars. Now it could expand to all students districtwide.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — UPDATE: The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School board voted Tuesday night to delay mandatory COVID-19 testing for high-risk extracurricular activities. They will look to require testing again in the near future.  

The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools' Board of Education will vote on taking further measures to help protect their students from COIVD-19. The district has already made testing mandatory for all student-athletes, but now they're trying to make testing easier for all students. 

Student-athletes aren't the only ones who have mandated testing in Winston-Salem Forsyth County schools, all students who participate in high-risk after-school activities are required to get tested on the regular to participate. 

The Board of Education will meet to vote on two things. First, will they continue to require testing for athletics and extracurricular activities like band or will they reallocate those resources to be able to provide free testing for students, staff, and families district-wide? 

Chief Communications Officer for the district, Brent Campbell said the district is just trying to do what's best for their students. "But what we have seen is a large number of student and staff members that tell us, once they start to experience symptoms that they are having trouble getting a COVID-19 test in the community," he said. 

Campbell said that due to teams and programs following proper COVID-19 protocols, they have only seen a very few number of cases spread during extracurricular activities. "What we've seen, however, is our cases aren't as high as we thought they would be. We're looking at numbers tonight, between the beginning of school and last week we've only had about 18 confirmed cases that were related to athletics."

Again Campbell went on to reiterate that the district's goal is to keep kids and staff healthy and in schools. "We want students in school, and we know if we can get them access to testing, we can find out what exactly is going on sooner, then in many cases, they are able to come back to school sooner."