The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Board of Education voted to delay mandated COVID-19 testing for students who participate in athletics and other extracurricular activities.

Those efforts are now being shifted to focus on providing testing in schools throughout the district.

The required testing for student-athletes, JROTC, band and other activities referred to as high risk was scheduled to begin in October. But the number of positive COVID-19 cases have been relatively low in those participating in these activities over the past few weeks.

The district says it's also received calls from parents who say it's difficult to find regular testing in the community for their child. 

As a result, the school system is now planning to provide free diagnostic COVID testing in schools for symptomatic students.

Fredricca Stokes, the assistant superintendent of student support, says parents would have to sign a consent for their child.

“They may have that cough or they may vomit or they may have some of the exclusionary symptoms. If they are able to get a test immediately right then, then we can go ahead and rule out COVID, so they don't have to miss additional days outside of school,“says Stokes.

Since the first day of school on August 23 through September 17, there have been more than 1,100 confirmed cases among students and staff and more than 2,000 close contacts with someone infected.

Stokes says overall, this resulted in more than 3,000 people being excluded from school.

Also at Tuesday night's meeting, the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education voted to continue its mask mandate for students and staff for at least another four weeks. The policy will be reassessed at that time to determine if it should remain or be lifted. 

Follow WFDD's Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news

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