NCDHHS Selects 17 School Districts, 11 Charter Schools Across the State to Participate in COVID-19 Testing Pilot Program

Raleigh

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has selected 17 school districts and 11 charter schools to participate in a pilot program to deploy COVID-19 rapid testing in K-12 public schools where any in-person instruction is happening.

The goal of the rapid testing program is to slow the spread of COVID-19 by quickly identifying students and staff who may have the virus, especially after the holiday season. Schools and districts selected for the program are offering full in-person instruction (Plan A) or hybrid remote and in-person instruction (Plan B). 

NCDHHS sent the selected districts and schools more than 50,000 federally funded rapid antigen tests. Tests are to be used for students and staff who have COVID-19 symptoms or who are close contacts of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Students and staff will have access to more than 200 school-based testing locations across 17 counties as part of the pilot. Local health departments in each county participated in the application process and, in some cases, will help with testing.

“This program gives us another tool in our toolkit to slow the spread of COVID-19 across our state and to keep children in the classroom, which we know is vital not only to their academic growth but also to their health and emotional development,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. “We will learn from these pilot schools and plan to expand the program early next year. We are thankful to the local education agencies and local health departments in the pilot program for their partnership in these efforts.”

To be selected for the first phase of the program, local education agencies had to confirm to their local health department that each participating school can: 

  • obtain parental/guardian consent prior to testing, 
  • maintain adequate supplies of personal protective equipment, 
  • have trained personnel to administer tests or partner with a local health provider and
  • report test results to state and local public health agencies.

Schools in the pilot will use the Abbott BinaxNOW rapid antigen test card, which uses a nasal swab to detect COVID-19 and provides results in 15 minutes without laboratory processing. The swab must be performed by trained personnel.

More information on the COVID-19 testing pilot for K-12 schools is available at covid19.ncdhhs.gov/guidance#schools.

Below is the full list of participating schools and districts by county:

  • Alamance County: Alamance-Burlington School System (33 locations)
  • Bladen County: Emereau Bladen Charter School (1 location)
  • Buncombe County: Asheville City Schools (11 locations), Buncombe County Schools (44 locations), Francine Delany Charter School (1 location)
  • Cabarrus County: Cabarrus Charter K-12 (2 locations), Cabarrus County Schools (6 locations), Kannapolis City Schools (2 locations)
  • Catawba County: Catawba County Schools (29 locations), Hickory Public Schools (9 locations), Newton Conover City Schools (6 locations)
  • Durham County: Central Park School for Children (1 location), Healthy Start Academy (1 location)
  • Forsyth County: NC Leadership Academy (1 location)
  • Gaston County: Gaston County Schools (1 location)
  • Harnett County: Harnett County Schools (28 locations)
  • Johnston County: Johnston County Public Schools (1 location)
  • Lenoir County: Lenoir County Public Schools (17 locations)
  • Lincoln County: Lincoln Charter School (2 locations)
  • Madison County: Madison County K-12 Public Schools (6 locations)
  • Mecklenburg County: Lake Norman Charter (1 location), Sugar Creek Charter School (1 location), UpROAR Leadership Academy (1 location)
  • Pasquotank County : Northeast Academy for Aerospace and Advanced Technologies (1 location)
  • Surry County: Elkin City Schools (3 locations), Mount Airy City Schools (4 locations), Surry County Schools (20 locations)
  • Wilson County: Wilson County Schools (2 locations)

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