Chesapeake Public Schools begins weekly COVID-19 testing for some student-athletes

COVID-19 Vaccine

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Whether it’s running, hooping, swimming, or wrestling, some student-athletes attending Chesapeake Public Schools will now welcome the routine of weekly COVID-19 testing.

“It’s just another layer of protection to keep our athletes and our students safe and get them back out on the court that they’ve missed so much over the last year and a half. Everybody is just excited to be out there and playing again,” said Supervisor of Student Activities Kevin Cole.

Monday marked the vaccine deadline for middle school athletes in Chesapeake Public Schools. A week before that was the deadline for their high schoolers. That includes those participating in extracurriculars.

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Program Administrator for Health Services Trudy Jelderks says roughly 55% of their high school student population on the sports teams are vaccinated. That means the other 45% will have to get tested regularly moving forward. That includes about 10% of students on rosters who have not said what they plan to do.

“By testing the students, not only are we protecting the school, but we are also protecting the school they are playing against because we know that school isn’t going to take it back and cause an impact and disruption at their school level,” said Jelderks.

Chesapeake is one of several local school divisions requiring COVID-19 vaccines or regular testing, including Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia Beach.

Jelderks says they have identified a schedule with each of the schools and they have no intention of taking students out of their classes for the testing. So, they’ve coordinated testing on student arrivals, departures, and lunchtime at one of the schools. A vendor called Mako will administer the tests.

“What’s important to know is that this is a low nasal swab, so it’s not a very intrusive test compared to how some of the tests have been in the past. So as a result, most people are OK with the test,” said Jelderks.

Jelderks says students will be tested once a week, and there is a make-up day should they need it. The results take about 20 hours to come in.

The high school testing started this past Monday, and she says they made it through all the schools without any incidents. Testing at the 10 middle schools is set to start the first few weeks in December. If you have any questions about this process, you can find a link to the school district’s FAQ by clicking here.

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