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West De Pere schools expand on-site COVID-19 testing

Westwood Elementary School  of the West De Pere School District
Westwood Elementary School of the West De Pere School District(WBAY)
Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 4:16 PM CDT
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DE PERE, Wis. (WBAY) - The West De Pere School District is expanding its on-site COVID-19 testing to include students. This, after it opted in to a program through the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, funded by the federal government.

Since the beginning of the school year, the West De Pere School District has been offering drive-through COVID-19 testing for school staff outside of Westwood Elementary School.

“I think for staff to, just to be able to have it on-site, I think is huge,” says Amy Schuh, the district’s Director of Student Services.

And now the district is announcing it’s expanding its partnership with Prevea and testing will also be available to students in West De Pere. According to Prevea President/CEO Dr. Ashok Rai, “The State of Wisconsin wanted to help school districts with testing needs and provided a large menu of things that could be done inside and outside of schools, in partnership, and paid for by the state. Prevea applied with the State of Wisconsin to be one of those providers and local school districts were paired up with us and that’s how our relationship with West De Pere started.”

Right now, testing is done four days a week, for three hours each day. The district is planning to expand the hours to two full days and two half days later this month.

Staff and students, who register for a test online, drive up to Westwood where a Prevea staff member administers the test. Amy Schuh says, “It’s kind of slick how it operates, and I think we’re just trying to do what we can do to maintain in-person learning.”

It was last year when West De Pere ran a similar testing program which was administered through CESA-6. The district believes since it had the framework in place from that testing, it was able to implement this year’s plan more easily.

As Action 2 News has been reporting, access to testing is an important part of keeping the spread of COVID-19 in check.

“Really the hallmark of when you have a situation where you’re trying to control a virus outbreak, it does come down to testing and then tracing who was exposed and isolating to prevent the spread, so this is a big component of that,” adds Dr. Rai.

Prevea says it’s working with other districts to build similar programs that fit those community’s needs.

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