ARLINGTON, Va. (WDVM) — Starting this week, Arlington Public Schools and ResourcePath will provide free COVID-19 nasal swab tests at Glebe Elementary School, Kenmore Middle School and Wakefield High School for people who have been exposed to COVID-19 and/or are symptomatic.
“The county instituted some of their testing sites to begin with, and one of those sites that is for health equity reasons in the 22204 zip code is run by ResourcePath so it was a very natural connection,” said Zachary Pope, APS’s director of Safety, Security, Risk and Emergency Management.
A test requires parental or guardian consent. The results will be sent to parents by email within 24 to 48 hours. If it’s positive, the director of laboratory medicine at ResourcePath will call and provide recommendations.
Not only are the selected schools geographically dispersed throughout the county, but they’re also located in zip codes that have had disproportionately high rates of COVID-19. Kenmore Middle School serves a high number of APS’ students who are learning English as a second language.
Before this partnership, if a student tested positive for COVID-19, their peers would have to quarantine until they tested negative. Pope says this effort gets that negative test to students faster and won’t interrupt their education as much. “We want our students to be in the classroom and we want them to be there the maximum amount of time. Understanding all of the health mitigation measures, this is just one additional measure for us to be able to ensure that.”
All three schools are accessible by public transit. The sites will be open 3:30 to 7:30 pm on weekdays. The Kenmore site will be open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on weekends.
Since some people contract COVID-19 and don’t present symptoms, APS is also working with ResourcePath to develop an asymptomatic testing program. Pope says the school system hopes to get that up and running within the next week or so.
ResourcePath, a Sterling-based lab, has performed more than 90,000 nasal swab tests in Northern Virginia.