ODE: Schools can register now to test students and staff for COVID-19

MEDFORD, Ore. — The Oregon Department of Education says school districts can now choose to opt into new COVID-19 testing programs for this school year.

Director for the Oregon Department of Education, Colt Gill, tells me the programs are meant to help mitigate the spread of COVID. “Some of these were available last school year, and others of these are new. Really, there are three programs we’re putting forward,” he said. They include diagnostic testing, as well as weekly testing for unvaccinated staff and students.

ODE says the test results are confidential, but any positive results are sent to the local health authority for contact tracing.

Should staff choose to opt-in for weekly screening testing, they’ll be able to test at home and get results back from a regional laboratory. For students, it’s a little different.

“Students in our schools, with their parent’s permission, can opt-in to testing at school. This testing can be done at the school site, in the classroom, for a sports team, to keep a check on the COVID-19 status.”

The tests are available at schools that have opted in already.

Locally — the Eagle Point School District says it’s in support of this resource and plans to opt-in.

It’s working to send information to its students and staff about the options available to them right now.

“Any tools that we can get a hold of that’ll help to keep the environment safer, to help keep us more educated on what’s going on we’re in full support of,” he said.

MacInnis says staff at the Eagle Point School District are deciding now whether or not it’s something they’d like to do. “We’re waiting to see if the staff will opt-in, and you know, how we should encourage it as a leadership team.”

The Medford School District says it has opted into the testing for students and staff.

The Grants Pass School District will be offering diagnostic testing, not weekly testing.

The Phoenix-Talent School District is offering the free testing to its community and says families can opt-out at any time.

The state’s two largest universities announced earlier today un-vaccinated staff and students will be required to test weekly.

Both the University of Oregon and Oregon State University said disciplinary action could follow for those who won’t get regular testing.

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Mariah Mills
NBC5 News reporter Mariah Mills is a Medford native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor's Degree in journalism. She also minored in sociology. In school, she covered Oregon athletics for the student-run television station, Duck TV. When she's not reporting, she’s reading, hiking and rooting for her favorite teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks.
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