Education briefs: Kannapolis schools in COVID-19 rapid testing pilot program

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 24, 2020

KANNAPOLIS — 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.

Kannapolis City Schools was selected as one of the districts taking part in the pilot.

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.

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)
  • Albemarle County: Northeast Academy for Aerospace and Advanced Technologies (1 location)
  • 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)
  • 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)

Literacy Council receives grant from Wallace and Graham

SALISBURY – The Rowan County Literacy Council has received a grant from Wallace and Graham Gives, the philanthropic arm of law firm Wallace and Graham.

The grant will help support the Literacy Council’s programs for youth and adult literacy. Executive Director KC Scott said, “We are thrilled to have the support of Wallace and Graham. Their support will enable us to provide literacy programs such as our new Cavs After Hours partnership. The urgent need for such programs has been brought into stark relief by the COVID pandemic.”

Cavs After Hours is a joint effort between the Literacy Council, Communities in Schools (CIS), and North Rowan High School. The school found that many students were struggling with remote learning.

The school contacted CIS hoping to find tutors to help students outside of regular school hours. CIS reached out to the Literacy Council who quickly assembled a team of more than a dozen volunteer tutors to work with students both on site, and over Zoom videoconference.

“We are working with students who are falling behind in their classes, to give them the extra support they need to complete course requirements. Without extra help, some of these students would be in jeopardy of not graduating. We are committed to making sure they cross the finish line,” Literacy Council Program Coordinator Laurel Harry said.

The Literacy Council provides one-on-one tutoring in reading and English. Programs are free of charge to individuals in the community. For more information on enrolling as a student or becoming a tutor, please visit the website at www.rcliteracy.org or call 704-216-8266.

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