Waco ISD holds free COVID testing as winter break ends

Local News

WACO, Texas: Hundreds of Waco ISD students and staff received drive thru COVID tests at Waco High School Saturday morning.

The testing comes after students and staff have been away from campuses for weeks celebrating holidays. Schools will resume Tuesday.

“People have been around family members, friends, people they’re comfortable with, you might not wear a mask and you may not keep your distance quite as much so we are concerned about it, that’s why we’re doing this testing,” Waco ISD health services director Rhiannon Settles said. “We’ll also be doing testing for students and staff every day of the month of January.”

Waco schools closing campuses and switching to remote learning became commonplace during the fall semester.

The district says most closures were ordered because of contact tracing, not because of any overwhelming amount of positive tests.

“The majority of people, students and staff, we have out are because of close contacts,” Settles said. “We’ve had our fair share of positive cases but most of the people missing work and missing school are on quarantine just to make sure that if they do get sick, they don’t expose anyone else.”

In a year where parents are at odds with school districts about COVID protocols, Waco ISD says they are trying to be transparent and helpful.

“Parents know that we’re here for their kids, we want to keep them safe and we also want to keep them in the classroom,” Settles said. “We don’t want to be quarantining kids time and time again. Sometimes we have to, to keep everyone safe, but if we don’t have to quarantine, we won’t.”

The district also says the testing isn’t just helpful for them, but for the entire city.

“The more people we test, the more accurate representation we have of what’s going on in our community,” Settles said. “We encourage anybody and everybody, students and staff, to get tested.”

The free testing will continue Sunday from noon to 3 p.m. at University High School.

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