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Education

Charlotte-Area Schools Are Piloting COVID-19 Testing, But Not CMS

COVID-19 test
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Updated at 6:30 p.m. with CMS information.

North Carolina health officials have chosen 17 school districts to pilot rapid COVID-19 testing in schools, and none of the state’s largest districts is among them.

School districts in Gaston, Cabarrus and Catawba counties are part of the pilot, which started this week and continues after winter break. The goal is to rapidly isolate people who have COVID-19 to prevent school spread.

On Dec. 4, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools spokesman Brian Hacker said CMS would take part. But he said Thursday evening the district had consulted with the Mecklenburg County Health Department and decided the county already had the ability to test symptomatic students and employees at existing sites.

"Because we are such a large district we wanted to be able to provide access throughout the county and partner with existing sites," Hacker said.

Also missing from the pilot are Wake, the only district in the state larger than CMS, and Guilford, the third-largest district.

Eleven charter schools will also do the antigen testing, which will be used for students and staff who have COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to someone who has it. They include Lake Norman, Sugar Creek and UpROAR in Mecklenburg County, Lincoln Charter in Lincoln County and Cabarrus Charter in Cabarrus County.

The state pilot requires in-person attendance. Participation is voluntary, and parental consent is required to test children.

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