COVID testing for Delaware teachers begins

As educators gear up for the return to school, they’ll be taking tests themselves — COVID-19 ones, anyway.

The state has released 11,000 links to at-home tests for educators across the state as many look toward a Sept. 8 start date.

Lake Forest School District — which will start school the day after Labor Day primarily remote, but with the ability for students to come in for in-person learning — started the process of disseminating links to its educators and staff today, said Superintendent Steven Lucas.

Dr. Lucas signed up for his own testing kit Tuesday.

“It was pretty painless,” he said. “It was pretty easy.”

Within a few minutes of signing up for his kit, he said that he received a confirmation that his test had been shipped to his home.

When the test arrives, educators will log into a Zoom conference with a representative from the testing company, New Jersey-based Vault Health, and provide the testing sample on camera before boxing it up and shipping it back.

Results are returned between 48 to 72 hours, said A.J. Schall, director of the Delaware Emergency Management Agency.

“We’ve been very impressed with it. It’s easy to register to get the kit and send it back,” he said during a press conference Tuesday.

The tests aren’t mandatory, but Dr. Lucas encouraged staff to sign up for them by Friday so they receive their results by the middle of next week.

In addition to educators being able to secure their own at-home tests, the state will host community testing sites within districts ahead of the start of school.

“We want to make sure that we have the ability to test students that show up to get tested, as well as all the faculty and staff,” Dr. Lucas said. “We will start testing at the school districts about a week to 10 days before the students go back.”

Cape Henlopen School District — which will open in hybrid fashion Sept. 16 — is hosting two sites this week. The first, at Beacon Middle School, is slated for Wednesday, followed by one at Mariner Middle School Thursday. Both sites are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Lake Forest is finalizing its plans for sites, but Dr. Lucas said it will likely occur next week.

The sites will be located in the gyms, Mr. Schall said. Staff will meet parents and children in the parking lot for registration before they’re taken to the gym for testing. Social distancing and mask wearing will be in effect.

By hosting the sites in the gym, they can be held in inclement weather, Mr. Schall noted.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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