Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools has a new tool to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, as cases continue to rise in the community.

It makes COVID-19 testing more accessible to students and staff.

So far, around 20 Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools will offer the free Covid-19 testing. It's part of a new state program that provides test kits to districts.

Some of them began testing symptomatic students and staff this week. They are rapid antigen tests that can give results in 15 minutes.

“If they are symptomatic at school, they can get a test and possibly return within 24 hours if they are negative, and their symptoms are improving,” says Katie Key, WS/FCS Director of Nurses.

The district says it's partnering with the Forsyth County Health Department for the effort. COVID coordinators in schools and volunteers trained by Novant Health educators will conduct the testing.

Val Young, President of the Forsyth County Association of Educators, says she hopes it will reduce barriers and help keep more students and staff in the classroom.

“The thing that I think is great is that it's very hard to get a test right now, so if you have it at your school, it is a much easier way to get tested to make sure that everything is ok,” says Young.

According to data from the district's website, the total number of positive cases in the district's schools was 907 students and staff members for the week of January 3 through Jan. 7. 

The following schools have volunteers that have been trained and have either started testing or will start this week: 

Clemmons Middle School 

Lewisville Elementary School 

Hanes Middle 

The Downtown School 

Reynolds High 

Special Children's School 

Kernersville Elementary 

Rural Hall Elementary 

Whitaker Elementary 

Piney Grove Elementary 

Mineral Springs Elementary 

North Forsyth High School 

Vienna Elementary 

Kimberley Park Elementary 

Walkertown Elementary 

The school district will announce next week additional schools that will offer on-site COVID testing.

Follow WFDD'S Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news

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