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Alamance-Burlington School System among 17 school districts, 11 charter schools to participate in COVID-19 testing pilot program

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services selected the school district among 17 districts and 11 charter schools to participate in the program.

ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. — The Alamance-Burlington School System will participate in a pilot program to deploy COVID-19 rapid testing to students and staff.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services selected the school district among 17 districts and 11 charter schools to participate in the program.

Superintendent Bruce Benson said being part of the rapid testing pilot program is one of the reasons why they can bring students back on campus. If someone is showing symptoms, they will be sent to the school nurse and get test results within 15 minutes.

"We can find out right then and there whether or not they have COVID-19 and then take appropriate action," he said.

OTHER TRIAD DISTRICTS PARTICIPATING 

The COVID-19 rapid testing will be distributed to students in K-12 public schools where any in-person instruction is occurring.

North Carolina Leadership Academy in Forsyth County will also participate in the program.

Three Elkin City Schools, four Mount Airy City Schools, and 20 will participate in the Surry County Schools' district.

GOAL OF RAPID TESTING

The goal of rapid testing is to slow the spread of COVID-19 by quickly identifying students and staff with the virus.

SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS 

The schools and districts selected for the program are offering full in-person instruction (Plan A) or hybrid remote and in-person instruction (Plan B).

The NCDHHS sent the school districts more than 50,000 federally funded rapid antigen tests.

Students and staff will have access to more than 200 school-based testing locations across 17 counties as part of the program.

HELPING WITH TESTING 

Local health departments in each county will help with testing.

“This program gives us another tool in our toolkit to slow the spread of COVID-19 across our state and to keep children in the classroom, which we know is vital not only to their academic growth but also to their health and emotional development,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. “We will learn from these pilot schools and plan to expand the program early next year. We are thankful to the local education agencies and local health departments in the pilot program for their partnership in these efforts.”

In order to participate school districts had to do the following:

  • Obtain parental/guardian consent prior to testing,
  • Maintain adequate supplies of personal protective equipment,
  • Have trained personnel to administer tests or partner with a local health provider and
  • Report test results to state and local public health agencies.

ABOUT RAPID TESTING 

The schools will use Abbott BinaxNOW rapid antigen test card, which uses a nasal swab to detect COVID-19. It provides results in 15 minutes with laboratory processing.

More information on the COVID-19 testing pilot for K-12 schools is available at covid19.ncdhhs.gov

PARTICIPATING SCHOOL DISTRICTS

Below is the full list of participating schools and districts by county:

  • Alamance County: Alamance-Burlington School System (33 locations)
  • Albemarle County: Northeast Academy for Aerospace and Advanced Technologies (1 location)
  • Bladen County: Emereau Bladen Charter School (1 location)
  • Buncombe County: Asheville City Schools (11 locations), Buncombe County Schools (44 locations), Francine Delany Charter School (1 location)
  • Cabarrus County: Cabarrus Charter K-12 (2 locations), Cabarrus County Schools (6 locations), Kannapolis City Schools (2 locations)
  • Catawba County: Catawba County Schools (29 locations), Hickory Public Schools (9 locations), Newton Conover City Schools (6 locations)
  • Durham County: Central Park School for Children (1 location), Healthy Start Academy (1 location)
  • Forsyth County: NC Leadership Academy (1 location)
  • Gaston County: Gaston County Schools (1 location)
  • Harnett County: Harnett County Schools (28 locations)
  • Johnston County: Johnston County Public Schools (1 location)
  • Lenoir County: Lenoir County Public Schools (17 locations)
  • Lincoln County: Lincoln Charter School (2 locations)
  • Madison County: Madison County K-12 Public Schools (6 locations)
  • Mecklenburg County: Lake Norman Charter (1 location), Sugar Creek Charter School (1 location), UpROAR Leadership Academy (1 location)
  • Surry County: Elkin City Schools (3 locations), Mount Airy City Schools (4 locations), Surry County Schools (20 locations)
  • Wilson County: Wilson County Schools (2 locations)