Winona Area Public Schools will begin offering free COVID-19 test kits for middle and high school students beginning next week.
The test kids will be available in the nurse’s office at Winona Middle School, Winona Senior High School and Winona Area Learning Center on Tuesday, May 11, and again on Tuesday, May 25. Students must return the completed test kit the day after pick-up (Wednesday, May 12, and Wednesday, May 26), so the school district can send it to the lab for processing. Results will be available 24-48 hours after the kits are sent to the lab.
“Testing remains a valuable tool in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our schools and community,” WAPS COVID-19 Coordinator Jackie Henderson said. “There has been an increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases in Winona, especially among school-age children. We hope that all middle and high school students take advantage of this testing program so we can finish the school year healthy and safe — and in the classroom.”
Minnesota is currently experiencing high circulation of variants of COVID-19. The Minnesota Department of Health estimates that 60 percent of all COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are the B.1.1.7. variant, which is a new version of the virus that spreads more easily. The B.1.1.7 variant has caused a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases, with many of them happening in school and youth sports and activities.
In order for their student to take part in testing, parents will need to complete and return an acknowledgement form. Test kits will not be released to students until the form is received.
Students will need access to the internet in order to complete the test. The test is completed on Zoom with a representative from Vault Health, the company that provides the tests. Students who do not have reliable internet access at home can take the test at school using a school computer with a parent present. Families can contact Henderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 507-494-0867 to learn more.