District releases updated COVID-19 testing policy for school travel

by Joseph Sweeney | editor-in-chief

The district has updated its COVID-19 testing policy for all school groups traveling both in-state and out-of-state.

“Whether it’s fine arts, athletics, spirit, any group that goes out-of-state, there is required testing because of the distance and the ability for parents to get to them, compared to in-state, it is highly recommended that students are tested before,” principal Gary Comalander said. 

Previously, the district required that all in-state trips, even those that were overnight, had to have all students tested before departure.

“[In state,] it is mandatory that if your kid gets sick, they will be tested there, and if they are positive, you will come get them immediately,” Comalander said.

COVID insurance and other insurances are offered before each trip in the event a student cannot attend. For trips covered by the school, they will simply be out of money. 

“Sometimes kids just get sick and miss a trip; something that has never changed in the past. But half of our trips are not student money raised,” Comalander said. “This weekend, a group of FFA students are going overnight. Those are school sponsored, so the student’s are not out of any money if they’re not able to go. It’s district money that’s paying for it. We reserve so many rooms for the groups to go. Sometimes the hotels will work for us, but we could be out of some money as a district.”

In the event parent’s do not want their student to be tested they will not be allowed to travel out-of-state for school business. 

“It is all voluntary to be able to go on these things. None of these are mandatory trips. It is extra,” Comalander said. “They would have to come get them. They would be isolated and quarenatined and they would have to come get them.”

As COVID case numbers are on the decline throughout the city, the district was able to make these updated policies with input from Metro health and the health services department.

“It really isn’t much different than what it was before COVID. It’s just now, that’s become a bigger point of when you’re staying in a hotel room with other people, with four kids in a hotel room, we’re trying to be as safe as we can be going into the trip,” Comalander said. “There’s no perfect answer, but we’re doing everything we can to be as safe as we can.”

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