2021 | Schools

MCPS hosting vaccination clinic, COVID-19 test consent event

38,000 have opted in to screening, rapid testing

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As it continues its push to convince families to sign up for COVID-19 testing, Montgomery County Public Schools on Saturday will host a “Say Yes to the Test” day at Paint Branch High School.

The event, open to families across the district from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., will offer free COVID-19 vaccinations to people who are eligible and help families sign their children up for in-school testing.

There will be giveaways, food and live music at the event, which will be held outdoors.

MCPS has implemented COVID-19 screening testing for its youngest students not yet eligible for a vaccine, in pre-kindergarten through sixth grades. The testing is intended to catch asymptomatic cases of the virus and limit its spread. MCPS officials have said they plan to expand the screening testing to middle and high schools in the coming weeks.

The district has also begun administering rapid tests to students who exhibit symptoms that could be related to COVID-19. The rapid tests return results quickly and have helped reduce the number of “close contacts” forced to quarantine while waiting for a diagnosis, Interim Superintendent Monifa McKnight has said.

To further reduce quarantines, MCPS plans to soon roll out “test-to-stay” protocols, which would allow students who were in close contact with someone who tested positive to remain in classes as long as they don’t have symptoms and test negative each day for about a week.

Parents or guardians must fill out a form consenting to each type of test for their child to participate.

During a school board meeting on Tuesday, MCPS officials said about 38,000 students in pre-kindergarten-sixth grade have consented to the testing.

Though unlikely, MCPS is aiming for 100% participation in its testing programs.