Shawano School District offers free COVID-19 testing to teachers, students through ThedaCare

Published: Jan. 12, 2021 at 5:00 PM CST
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SHAWANO, Wis. (WBAY) - ThedaCare is partnering up with nearly half a dozen school districts to provide COVID-19 testing for students and staff.

Beginning last week, ThedaCare medical professionals have been setting up shop at Shawano’s middle and high school every Tuesday to provide free COVID-19 testing to asymptomatic staff and students grades six through 12.

“We did this last week for the first time, doing it again today,” said Nick Curran, Director of Business and Human Resources with the district.

Curran believes being proactive through testing is key to keeping schools open.

“We want to make sure we keep it out of the school system, keep it out of our staffing so we can keep our staff on site, because ultimately that’s going to play a key role into keeping our students here as well,” said Curran.

Parents must provide permission for students to be tested and quarantine is not required as they await results, which are available within two days.

The Shawano School District is one of several ThedaCare has partnered with as a means of protecting communities as a whole.

Other school districts it’s serving include Kimberly, Gresham, Menominee, and Appleton. ThedaCare is also in talks with multiple other districts that may utilize testing services as well.

“Anything we can do to help keep the community healthy, to keep the numbers of COVID down, to keep the number of people who need to be hospitalized with this down, the better,” said Dr. Mindy Frimodig, a Regional Medical Director at ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano.

Dr. Frimodig says while screening is a great step, because there are asymptomatic carriers it’s important to also maintain social distancing and mask-wearing within schools.

“Kids may be in school, teachers may be in school and not have any symptoms yet or know that they’re infected and can still spread it, but the masking really decreases that risk,” said Dr. Frimodig.

The Shawano School District hopes to incorporate rapid-testing in the near future, and plans to keep testing going for the time being.

“Our focus here in Shawano is students being here on-site five days a week and protecting them and our staff,” said Curran. “So as long as necessary to protect our students and staff.”

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