COVID-19 testing program helping keep Ludlow Independent School students in class

Published: Sep. 27, 2021 at 5:56 PM EDT
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LUDLOW, Ky. (WXIX) - Ludlow Independent Schools is seeing the benefits of a COVID-19 testing program designed to keep exposed students in the classroom.

When classes at Ludlow Independent Schools started in mid-August, the Director of Teaching and Learning Jason Steffen says they had three positive COVID-19 cases but 80 students in quarantine.

“We had an enormous amount of kids staying out of school due to close contact, not necessarily a positive case,” Steffen explained.

Something had to be done to keep students from falling behind because they were in quarantine.

Things have changed at Ludlow Independent Schools thanks to a district-wide pilot program called Test to Stay.

The program allows students identified as close contacts to attend school as long as they have no symptoms and test negative for COVID-19.

“They get both a rapid test and a PCR test,” says Steffen. “So, the rapid would be a quick 15 minutes and we would get that result right away to see if they could stay for the day. But we also do a PCR test on day one and day five to make sure it’s a more accurate test. So, we’re making sure we’re getting several points of data to make sure they’re safe here at school.”

The district is in its third week enforcing the program.

On average, Steffen says they test eight to 10 students daily who are considered close contacts.

He calls the program successful because the majority return for in-person instruction.

“Just having the kids here, we’re seeing a positive impact both academically and social-emotional well-being,” said Steffen.

Ten Warren County school districts are hoping for the same positive results when they start a similar pilot program on Tuesday.

Families choosing not to participate in the pilot testing program would instead follow existing quarantine procedures, meaning sending their kids to schools with masks.

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