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Shelby County Schools offers free COVID-19 testing to thousands of students and staff

Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 3:16 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 25, 2021 at 5:58 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Dozens of students in Hickory Ridge Middle School made their way to the band room Tuesday to get tested for COVID-19.

“This asymptomatic testing program helps us identify positive cases and then be able to remove them from the school so that we don’t have an outbreak,” said Rachel Carpenter, COVID Marketing Director for Poplar Healthcare.

Poplar Healthcare has partnered with Shelby County Schools (SCS) to provide free testing for students and staff.

“All of the children whose parents choose for them to participate in the Shelby County Schools’ testing program should be asymptomatic children,” said Carpenter. “Asymptomatic testing is defined as someone who does not have any symptoms of COVID at the present time and doesn’t have any known exposure to COVID.”

Testing is optional for students and staff, and they are able to take part during school hours. Tuesday’s testing process proved to be efficient.

“Once they check in, confirm their name and date of birth, they get a label. They take that label to the next station where a certified medical professional is performing the swab,” Carpenter explained.

Once they complete the process, students return back to class. They continue attending school unless they are notified of a positive test result.

Results are processed within 24 hours and sent to the child’s parents.

As of Tuesday, about 5,000 SCS students and staff have been tested so far this school year

The free testing is offered at each Shelby County school once every two weeks.

Parents are able to sign a consent form online if they want their child to be tested for COVID-19 at school. The form can be found here.

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