Pasco School District to be a part of COVID-19 school testing program

PASCO, Wash. – The Pasco School District will be one of 48 throughout the state to offer COVID-19 testing on campus. The Department of Health has partnered with various organizations to make this a possibility throughout Washington.

“State says okay let’s get going with phase 2 of this pilot. We’re in the process of putting that rollout together for that project,” Director of Public Affairs Shane Edinger said.

Governor Inslee said during a press conference on Tuesday, the program started with eleven school districts and now it’s expanded.

“We’re excited about being able to provide this opportunity for our students for our staff to provide that extra layer of confidence,” Edinger added.

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In Pasco, the program is still in it’s early stages. Edinger said there’s some logistics to work out, like if they’ll test in a drive through, drive up or indoors.

“We’re learning more about it, as we go,” he said.

According to Health Commons, the organization the Department of Health has partnered with, they’ve seen great success with school testing, when used with other mitigation measures, like distancing, hand washing and masks.

“We’re working to make this the safest environment as possible for our students as we bring more and more of them back into class,” Edinger said.

Health Commons said testing is voluntary and each school district gets a plan that works best for them. Edinger explained they’re still working to determine if every school will have a test site, or if they’ll rotate and, what times they’ll operate. The D-O-H’s ‘Learn to Return’ handbook said the testing sites are staffed with pre-approved personnel like school nurses, administrators or local medical students.

“Certain number of students are getting tested each day or certain number of staff are getting tested each day, could be folks that are asymptomatic, it really varies from school district to school district,” Edinger said.

With middle and high schoolers returning to classrooms soon, Edinger added, they’re eager to put this measure into place, but it could be some time before testing sites appear throughout the district.

“I know that all of our stakeholders will be able to have a say in how things are put together,” he said.