Wake County schools offering free COVID-19 testing for students, staff in schools

WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Wake County Public School System is offering weekly, on campus COVID-19 testing to students and staff.

Eleven out of 194 schools are offering the testing now and it'll expand to all schools next year.

Parents can register their children for the testing.

The district is partnering with MAKO Medical for the voluntary, free testing.

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John Scarborough has a six-year-old daughter who goes to Brentwood Magnet Elementary in Raleigh. He pushed for testing in schools and thinks he'll register his daughter when it's available at her school.

"It's not a question of benefit to us," Scarborough said. "I think it's a benefit to the community as a whole to identify potential vectors within other families, keep it from spreading to those who are much more vulnerable, like grandparents and parents."

Brian Groesser has three children who go to Wake County schools. One of those schools is already offering the testing but Groesser does not plan to enroll his children.

"I didn't really honestly see the point in doing it to be to be frank about it," Groesser said. "I mean, it's something that made a lot of sense maybe a year ago, when the vaccines weren't available and where testing was spotty, and everything else. It was an opportunity maybe to test kids that may be symptomatic that otherwise don't have access to the vaccine and maybe don't have access to get a timely test or anything like that."

The tests are PCR pooled tests. The district's website says MAKO staff gently swab students' noses, then place the swabs of 2-6 people in one tube. The samples are run as a single sample using one test. If it's positive, everyone in the pool takes a test the next day at school to identify who has COVID-19.

The district's website said the testing an effective way to reduce transmission.

Your child's school will notify you when testing is available at their school.
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