Health department to offer testing to employees working in in-person preK to 12th grade classrooms

Coronavirus in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Sedgwick County Health Department said beginning Monday, August 31, county residents working in in-person classrooms of PreK to 12th-grade students will be able to schedule a time to be sampled for COVID-19.

“We wanted to make sure that teachers and other people in the classroom had an opportunity to be tested so that they know their status,” said Sedgwick County Deputy Health Director Christine Steward.

The department said they can be tested weekly whether or not they have symptoms. Next day appointments for no cost testing can be made by calling United Way of the Plains at 2-1-1.

At this time, the county said testing is not open to people working in virtual classes, people who homeschool, or to faculty and staff at technical schools, colleges, universities, or any other higher education institution.

The drive-through site is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon, by appointment only.

The Sedgwick County Health Department is working out the hours for teachers because it’s during class time. 

Some teachers said testing should help everyone feel more comfortable coming back to school.

“Do I worry about somethings, maybe, but I know that the year’s going to change and we just do what we need to do,” said teacher Andrea Barry. “All teachers want to be safe around the kids, that’s my biggest worry, you know, am I going to be safe with the kids, and with this option, it’s going to help.”

“The more that kids and parents also feel safe, the better we can do and i think the better it will be for our kids in the long run that people feel safe and we can kind of get back to normal,” said teacher Lydia Cress.

At the site, a nasopharyngeal swab will be taken and sent to a lab for COVID-19 testing. Residents are able to access test results from an online results portal as early as three days after sampling. The results of the SCHD virus test show whether a person has a current infection. It is not an antibody test.

Sedgwick County tests residents who have symptoms or who are contacts of known COVID-19 positive people at the site. In addition to people working in-person in classrooms, other people without symptoms can be tested if they are first responders, healthcare workers (including home health and long-term care), law enforcement, detention facility workers, Direct Support Professionals, or if they work in residential group living facilities.

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