Pearland ISD will be able to begin administering voluntary COVID-19 tests to symptomatic students after winter break

Pearland ISD will begin voluntary COVID-19 testing for symptomatic students Jan. 11. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Pearland ISD will begin voluntary COVID-19 testing for symptomatic students Jan. 11. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Pearland ISD will begin voluntary COVID-19 testing for symptomatic students Jan. 11. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

The Pearland ISD board of trustees discussed and voted on several items related to COVID-19 at the Dec. 15 board meeting. One thing Superintendent John Kelly discussed with the board is the district’s voluntary COVID-19 testing for schools.

Pearland ISD is a part of a statewide program enabling teachers and students to get tested for COVID-19 after the Christmas holiday. The district received 6,400 tests and began testing symptomatic staff at the district’s education support center Dec. 2, Kelly said. As of Dec. 11, 80 staffers have been tested, 26 of them positive, Kelly said. Some of the staffers tested were asymptomatic, Kelly said.

In Phase 2, the district will begin testing symptomatic students with parent consent Jan. 11. Tests will also be offered at eight pilot campuses in the district. According to a district email to parents, the eight pilot campuses are Dawson High School, Pearland High School, Turner College and Career High School, PACE Center, Pearland Junior High South, Sablatura Middle School, Cockrell Elementary and Silvercrest Elementary.

“We are moving cautiously but fairly productively to implement this,” Kelly said.

The 6,400 tests available cover roughly a quarter of the district’s student population. However, the district will not test all students before allowing them to come back to school, Kelly said, as that is not recommended by the county nor by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“6,400 tests will go a long way, especially in Phases 1 and 2,” Kelly said.

The CDC has also changed the guidelines for quarantine, Kelly said. The requirement for a 14-day quarantine has been reduced to a seven-day quarantine in the event that the patient is tested on Day Five, Six or Seven and the test comes back negative. If there is no test administered, the patient may return to work after 10 days, Kelly said.

The district is also considering a Phase 3, which would depend on the success of Phase 2. Phase 3 would include widening testing to all campuses in the district.

The tests expire in March, according to district staff. It is unclear as to whether tests will be replenished, Kelly said.
By Haley Morrison
Haley Morrison came to Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after graduating from Baylor University. She was promoted to editor in February 2019. Haley primarily covers city government.


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