Durham Public Schools offering free COVID-19 testing to community

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Durham Public Schools is offering free COVID-19 testing to the community.

Durham school officials announced earlier this month that the district will partner with Ottendorf Labs LLC.

Ottendorf has agreed to offer free asymptomatic PCR testing for COVID-19 at locations across the district. This includes all 53 schools and administrative buildings. 

There will be a soft launch of the testing program on March 25 at four schools — City of Medicine Academy, Mangum Elementary School, Merrick-Moore Elementary School and Southwest Elementary School. 

“I am so excited that we will have this additional level of protection for our students and staff,” said Dr. Pascal Mubenga, superintendent of DPS. “Thanks to the federal grant supporting Ottendorf, anyone who wants it will have easy access to convenient and free PCR level COVID-19 testing.”

Testing is available to any community member and appointments are not needed in order to get tested. Testing will happen at DPS sites on a regular rotation. Students and staff may access testing at their school or tested at any DPS location. Testing site schedules will be shared via social media and available on the DPS website and individual school websites. Times for testing will vary depending on school hours.

The district say they will share information directly with families about how they may register their students to be tested along with steps for accessing test results which are expected to be provided within 24 hours. All students will need parental consent to participate in testing.

Additional DPS sites will begin testing in staggered, scheduled rotations during the week of April 5. Secondary school sites will begin their scheduled, staggered testing the week of April 12, allowing for the return to in-person learning on April 8.

The rapid PCR tests will provide results on average within 24 hours and are effective in detecting COVID-19 in asymptomatic individuals.

Ottendorf, a state certified testing lab, will report positive results to the staff member or student’s parent/guardian, to the state Department of Health and Human Services, and to the DPS Lead Nurse for contact tracing within Durham Public Schools.

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