DeKalb schools to conduct voluntary surveillance COVID testing again

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DeKalb students can participate in voluntary surveillance testing for COVID-19 this year. (Miguel Martinez / [email protected])

By Cassidy Alexander

The DeKalb County School District will again conduct voluntary surveillance testing for COVID-19 for students and staff.

DeKalb parents can register students for the testing program on the district’s website until Tuesday.

The testing will be conducted weekly at schools. Students may participate even if they are fully vaccinated.

Approximately 7,500 students and staff participated in the program last year, according to JoAnn Harris, an equity and student empowerment coordinator for the district. It’s back again due to requests from parents and staff, she said.

“The testing will provide families and staff with peace of mind,” the surveillance testing website states. “The current safety measures in place, combined with testing for staff and students, will lower the risk of transmission and allow more consistent access to in-person instruction for our students.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention no longer recommends routine COVID-19 testing in schools. The updated guidelines state that schools can consider conducting testing in communities with high transmission in certain scenarios: for participants of activities like close contact sports or bands, before or after large evens like prom, or when returning from breaks.

DeKalb reported 193 positive student cases and 75 positive staff cases of COVID-19 in the second week of school, according to the district’s data dashboard. Masks are strongly encouraged in DeKalb schools.

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