WS/FC Schools Will Mandate COVID-19 Testing For Sports, Other Activities

WS/FC Schools Will Mandate COVID-19 Testing For Sports, Other Activities

4:02pm Aug 25, 2021
The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021. KERI BROWN/WFDD

Some students in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools will be required to take part in COVID-19 testing. The Board of Education approved a plan that focuses on high-risk activities.

Students who play sports or take part in extracurricular activities including performing arts, band and JROTC will be required to submit a consent form for COVID testing. If they don’t, they can’t participate. The testing also applies to coaches and staff.

The state Department of Health and Human Services is offering testing to schools at no cost through the use of federal COVID relief funding. So far, more than 190 schools have signed up for the program, including several private schools.

Local and state medical experts answered questions from board members during Tuesday’s meeting. Dr. Christopher Ohl, an infectious disease expert with Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist says data show that the COVID testing approach is a good idea in some education settings, especially athletics.

“It’s going to give us a good chance because it lets epidemiologists like me parse things out and try to keep the team going, although we might have to have some people sit out for a while,” says Ohl.

Concentric by Gingko will oversee the testing process and samples will be sent to a lab in Charlotte for analysis.

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools will begin the program in mid to late September.

The district says depending on how that goes, they will consider expanding it to other areas and schools.

*Follow WFDD's Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news

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