Fayette Students Could Test Out Of Quarantine In New Pilot Program

Sep 20, 2021

Some Fayette County parents will soon have the option of enrolling their children in pilot programs aimed limiting quarantines in public schools. 

In this April 29, 2021, file photo, students line up to enter Christa McAuliffe School in Jersey City, N.J. Children are having their noses swabbed or saliva sampled at school to test for the coronavirus. As more children return to school buildings this spring, widely varying approaches have emerged on how and whether to test students and staff members for the virus.
Credit AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File

Five area elementary schools – Breckinridge, Clays Mill, Dixie, James Lane Allen, and Julius Marks – along with Crawford and Jesse Clark middle schools will launch what are known as “test-to-stay” programs starting on Monday, Sept. 27.

If signed up, students who are exposed to COVID at school but test negative and don’t develop symptoms will be able to stay in class. Fayette Superintendent Dr. Demetrus Liggins said the voluntary programs have the potential to prevent school-wide shutdowns, like Dixie experienced last week.

"It is truly up to our parents, those who decide to participate and 100% of them at these campuses have that option," Liggins said Monday. "It could prevent us from having quarantines at all, depending on whether or not students actually develop symptoms." 

The programs will have students take PCR rapid tests Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at school up to seven days after exposure. The pilots are being conducted in concert with the CDC, along with local and state health departments. Depending on the outcome of the pilot program, the test-to-stay model could be exported to other schools in the district.  

"Ideally, we will continue to do this and possibly expand it to other campuses, but at this point we are really for the next few weeks actually, to see what the results are, how effective is it," the superintendent explained. 

The school leader said he is aware of two students in the system recently hospitalized with COVID, one a young male who is on a ventilator.