SANDY, Utah — The Canyons School District is now offering rapid COVID-19 testing to its 6,000 teachers and staff members.
The program is designed to benefit individuals who may be asymptomatic after coming into contact with someone has the virus.
“We can help people feel a little bit safer about coming back to school, being in that environment and feeling safe that they’re not exposing people and they’re not potentially spreading COVID without knowing it,” said Jennifer Gerrard, a nurse for the district.
Gerrard and more than a dozen members of the district’s nursing staff operate the testing center in the garage of the district office.
There is no requirement for school districts in Utah to offer this service, but Canyons is doing so to add an extra layer of safety during the pandemic.
“This was an effort of the Canyons School District. One more tool in our bid to be safe as possible in a school year unlike any other,” said Jeff Haney, a spokesperson for the district. “Our focus here is to educate children and educate them in a safe way. The best way to do that is to add all of these tools.”
Test results are delivered in roughly 15 minutes.
“We are testing teachers, employees for the district who may have been exposed to COVID. They’ve done seven days of their quarantine, they are getting tested early so they are able to return to work sooner,” Gerrard said.
The testing is offered on Monday and Tuesday from 7-9 a.m., Wednesday and Thursday from 3-5 p.m., and Friday from 8-10 a.m.
District employees who wish to get tested are asked to register prior to arriving at the testing site.
The service will be offered through the end of the school year. The district hopes this extra layer of safety goes a long way toward keeping schools open during the pandemic by slowing the spread.
“It’s super important to keep schools open as much as we can,” Gerrard said. “I see the benefit daily as I’m in my school, working with students. They are happy to be there.”
Money from the federal CARES Act is funding the program.