Johnson City Schools offers free, COVID-19 testing for students and staff members. COVID-19 testing in schools not only helps prevent the spread of the virus, but it also helps students and staff stay healthy and able to continue learning, working, and enjoying other important activities!
Testing takes place at each school
Testing is conducted by nurses at each school’s clinic during school hours. Students will not be tested without parental consent. The consent form will be provided by the nurse before testing. Parents will be given the option to be present during testing; however, it is not required. Even with written consent on file, parental consent will always be confirmed before a test is administered.
Who qualifies? School testing is ONLY for the following students and staff:
- Symptomatic students and staff (vaccinated or unvaccinated)
- Asymptomatic, fully vaccinated non-household contacts (3-5 days after contact).
- Asymptomatic, fully vaccinated household close contacts (3-5 days after contact) and after the end of the case’s isolation (after day 10).
How is the testing be done?
The COVID-19 tests are free, quick, and easy. We use a viral test, known as a PCR test, which has a 24-48 hours turnaround. The test involves using a nasal cotton swab placed inside the tip of the nose. The test is not painful. We do not use the longer swabs that reach higher into the nose. This test will tell if you have a current COVID-19 infection, regardless of whether you have symptoms.
Who will conduct the test?
A school nurse, licensed by the State of Tennessee, who has been trained to use this test, will collect the specimen and perform the testing process. Testing results will be shared only for public health purposes, which may include notifying close contacts that they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and taking other steps to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in your school community. Information sharing and notifying of contacts will be done in a way that protects your privacy. Sharing of information will only be done in accordance with applicable law and policies protecting privacy and the security of your data.
What if the COVID-19 test is positive?
All students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate immediately and follow the Return to School Decision Support Algorithm for positive cases. School nurses are available to answer specific questions related to individual circumstances.
What if the COVID-19 test is negative?
As outlined above, there are several reasons students and staff members will be tested. A negative test result does not mean that isolation or quarantine is not necessary. For example, someone who is currently at school or work and exhibiting symptoms requiring testing will still be required to go home and remain isolated for 24 hours without a fever AND improvement in symptoms even after a negative test result. The circumstances for testing and requirements for isolation and quarantine after negative results are outlined in the Return to School Decision Support Algorithm. School nurses are available to answer specific questions related to individual circumstances.
Information About At-Home Testing
Home test results should be shared with the school nurse in order to initiate contact tracing. Testing completed at health care facilities, including Johnson City Schools sites, will automatically populate in the Tennessee Department of Health network for contact tracing.
The CDC recommends everyone 12 years and older get a COVID-19 vaccine to help protect against COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and free. Getting vaccinated helps prevent severe illness, hospitalizations, and death.