FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — In effort to keep as many children in the classroom as COVID numbers start to climb again, Fort Wayne Community Schools (FWCS) is taking advantage of rapid COVID tests provided by the state.
According to the Indiana Department of Health, the Hoosier state recently saw the highest number of COVID-19 cases in schools in a single week.
The state is aiming to do more testing in schools, and FWCS is the only public school district in Allen County implementing rapid testing at the moment. According to district spokeswoman Krista Stockman, FWCS has 50 school buildings and the tests are used daily.
Parents must provide consent for the student to be tested, but Stockman told WANE 15’s Briana Brownlee that the biggest advantage to this is parents do not have to take their children out of school to find a testing site.
“Right now it’s really hard to get in to get a rapid test and the PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) takes a few days. This is the fastest way to get kids tested,” Stockman said. “If they are not COVID positive, it allows them to stay in school. That’s really what we are trying to do – we want kids in school and in the building as much as possible.”
Stockman added that it’s currently allergy season and the rapid tests help schools differentiate when they come across symptoms like a runny nose, headache or cough. She said without the test, many students would probably be sent into quarantine or have to get tested on their own.
“A lot of parts in the city, families have a difficulties accessing healthcare. To put that burden on them is difficult and it keeps the kids out of school,” Stockman said. “This is a test that’s not like the PCR where you have that long swab that goes all the way up into your sinuses. This is a much smaller swab, and the students actually do it themselves.”
FWCS continues to ask parents to keep their child at home if he or she is sick or has a temperature.