Cumberland County Schools to start optional weekly COVID-19 testing for students, employees

CUMBERLAND COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Starting next week, Cumberland County students and employees will have the option of getting a COVID-19 test at school weekly.

The free rapid antigen testing will be offered at every school and the goal is to start Monday.

The district believes this is a tool to help reduce and prevent the spread of in-school transmission.

"We believe that by providing this convenient testing, it will allow us to reduce the number of in-school transmissions, as well as hopefully minimize the loss of learning time," said Lindsay Whitley, Cumberland County Schools Associate Superintendent of Communications and Community Engagement. "So, if we know that a student tests positive, even if they're not showing symptoms, we're able to respond appropriately, you know, go ahead and contact the parent or guardian and begin that contact tracing process."

Cumberland County is one of more than 200 school districts, charter schools, and private schools that have signed up to participate in the StrongSchoolsNC K-12 COVID-19 testing program, through the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

MAKO Medical will administer and processes Cumberland County's COVID-19 tests.

Mako's COO Josh Arant sent a statement saying in part:

"For K-12 testing, we use a child-friendly test that is just barely inside the nose instead of the test that tickles the brain. MAKO Medical team members come to school to test students and educators on site. We want this to be as easy on schools as possible. Individual results are swiftly delivered to parents/guardians and schools receive a dashboard of results."

Every parent ABC11 talked to outside Walker-Spivey Elementary School wasn't planning on having their children get tested.

"I don't want my daughters to get tested every week," said Cumberland County Father James Richardson, adding that his young daughter complained about how painful a previous COVID-19 test was. It's unclear exactly what test she got. "I don't think I want to put them through that no more."

"It's a good idea but I don't plan on getting my kids tested, not weekly, that's a little too much," said Cumberland County mother Peggy Thompson. When asked about her concerns, she said: "False testings. I've experienced that a few weeks ago or issues with the testings coming back."

Parents and employees can still register their children to get tested.

FULL CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE

Copyright © 2021 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.