Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Free COVID tests to begin for SFPS students, staff | Local News

Santa Fe Public Schools students and staff who experience symptoms of COVID-19 will be able to take free testing at the Aspen Community Magnet School starting Monday.

Unvaccinated employees who are required to test weekly and students who take a voluntary weekly test can take the tests on Mondays in a drive-through area in the engineering department warehouse.

The camp site is also open to students and staff who suspect they may have COVID-19 even though they are not showing any symptoms.

The tests are not offered during the winter and spring holidays.

In order for the district to host testing sites, administrators had to apply to the New Mexico Department of Health for an exemption from the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act. This waiver was approved in late September.

Premier Medical Group employees will perform the polymerase chain reaction or PCR tests at both locations. The PCR test examines genetic material as opposed to proteins, as is the case with rapid tests. It’s the only strain approved by the Public Education Department, and results can take two or three days to complete.

The news came during a week that the district announced 17 more positive cases among staff and students, including some that may have sprung up at the school.

On Tuesday, the district announced that a student from Salazar Elementary School who tested positive on September 20 was likely to have contracted the virus at school.

It’s unclear whether a Capital High School student who tested positive on Sept. 24 may have contracted the virus on campus as well.

Single positive cases were also identified at Chaparral and Cesar Chavez Elementary Schools and Ortiz Middle School, and three at Ramirez Thomas Elementary School. None has been proven to have originated in the school.

On Thursday, the district announced that six other students and three employees tested positive, including a student and employee from Capital High, a student from Atalaya Elementary and an employee from Cesar Chavez Elementary.

The district announced Thursday that two students and a Ramirez Thomas Elementary employee were likely infected with the virus at school.

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