A program designed to help students return to school sooner after the coronavirus will soon be launched at select public schools in Alexandria City.

“Testing to stay is a practice of contact tracing and serial COVID-19 testing to allow close contacts associated with the school who are not fully immunized to continue attending school during their period. quarantine,” said the Virginia Dept. of Health explains.

While the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is in decline, Alexandria is still seeing an average of 35 confirmed cases every day. (That’s about a tenth of the seven-day average 5 weeks ago when Alexandria hit its last peak in virus transmission.)

The program will begin in a handful of public schools in Alexandria City, the program will supplement the weekly opt-in tests offered in schools by Curative. The new program will allow some students to return to school after five days of quarantine under various conditions.

“The benefit for students and families is that students can return to in-person learning more quickly than with a full 10-day period of isolation after diagnosis of COVID-19 or development of symptoms of COVID- 19,” according to an email sent to CSPA parents.

Not all schools will participate in the program — the pilot program includes only James K. Polk Elementary School, Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy, and Alexandria City High School’s satellite campus. The parents of these schools have received an email from their principals with all the details.

According to CSPA:

“As of Tuesday, February 22, students who have tested positive for COVID-19 will need to meet one of the conditions below in order to return to school:

  • Respect a 10-day isolation period.
  • Comply with a minimum five-day isolation period, be symptom-free, and submit a negative (rapid) antigen test result from an at-home test or a test from a medical or test provider to [email protected] acps.k12.va.us.
  • Comply with a minimum five-day self-isolation period, be symptom-free, and participate in the CSPA’s Day 6-10 COVID testing program.

Additionally, CSPA officials last week announced they would convene a special school board meeting to discuss masks and other coronavirus mitigation measures. Governor Glenn Youngkin signed into law a bill that eliminates mask mandates in Virginia public schools, giving parents the ability to decide whether or not their students wear masks. Alexandria City had joined several other school districts in a lawsuit earlier this year when Youngkin attempted to accomplish essentially the same thing via executive order.

“At its next special school board meeting convened on Thursday, February 24, 2022, the Alexandria City School Board will discuss the current mask requirement, which is one of many mitigation measures put in place to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19.” Staff have been actively planning for when masks will become optional. Our top priority is the safety and well-being of our students and school division staff,” the school board announced.

by the team at Alexandria Living magazine

February 19, 2022

4:11 p.m.