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Clarification on COVID-19 testing program pilot with Peninsula School District

TACOMA, WASH.—We are glad Peninsula School District Superintendent Jarvis is exerting his authority to determine a path forward for in-person learning for the district’s K-3 grade students. However, his announcement this afternoon concerning the COVID-19 rapid testing pilot surprised us.

While school districts determine how to implement health department recommendations concerning in person learning, we have not yet finalized plans for this testing pilot.

As we stated in our Oct. 26 news release clarifying our role in the Department of Health’s decision tree, we continue to work with districts on how to best balance parents’ and administrators’ concerns about children’s educational, social, and emotional needs; staff’s concerns about children’s needs and their own safety; and our concerns about disease transmission and community health.

While we are exploring a pilot program for rapid COVID-19 testing for K-3 grade students in rural districts, we are in the planning stages and have not finalized these arrangements.

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department just received approval on the funding for the pilot program today. The details of any partnership haven’t been fully developed. We are continuing to work with superintendents to get kids back in school, keep students, teachers and staff safe, and keep the community safe.

About Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s mission is to protect and improve the health of all people and places in Pierce County. As part of our mission, the Health Department tackles known and emerging health risks through policy, programs and treatment to protect public health. We are one of roughly 244 accredited health departments in the country and among six in the state to have met or exceeded the Public Health Accreditation Board’s quality standards. Learn more at www.tpchd.org.

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