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JCPS implements ‘test to play’ initiative for athletes, extracurricular participants

Student athletes and after school activity participants will have to test negative for COVID-19 in order continue participating.
Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 2:10 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Jefferson County Public Schools has launched a new initiative that will test student athletes and participants in other extracurriculars for COVID-19 in order to keep them involved in their respective activities.

Similar to a test to stay program in place for going to class, JCPS’s new test to play initiative will allow students to continue participating if they test negative once a week.

“We have no problem getting tested to see if we have COVID or not, we just want to play,” said Seneca High School girls basketball player Neveah Saunders. “That’s really our main goal.”

Saunders is fully vaccinated, and so is her counterpart Josh Lewis on the boys team. Still, they know what’s at stake and say a healthy season is a priority.

“We just want to have a full season this year,” said Lewis. “We’re all ready to play. We’re on board for the testing.”

Elementary schools will test in school during their weekly testing day. Middle and high school students will take their tests after classes at their school’s drive-through sites. JCPS District Health Manager Dr. Eva Stone said this is all about taking every precaution possible for a district this size.

“I don’t know many parents that haven’t been really terrified since this pandemic began for the health of their students,” said Stone.

Dr. Stone said she’s not aware of any other district doing this, but she hopes it catches on. She added it’s ben a mixed bag of reaction from parents.

“People have been very supportive of that. There have people not as supportive who have been unhappy with the decision,” said Stone. “A question was asked earlier about how many parents have chosen not to have their kids participate. Well, the flip side of that is how many parents will now allow their kids to participate in some of these clubs because of the additional safety measures in place.”

The test to play initiative starts November 1. Parents will have to consent to have their child tested. You can find a link to that here.

Seneca High School will also soon be home to a vaccine clinic for students. Those vaccination clinics will likely spread to other schools across the district, but there’s no timetable.

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