Putting a stop to increasing COVID-19 cases in schools just became a little easier in East Lansing. With on-site testing readily available to students, parents and staff COVID-19 can be caught sooner, with less exposure. Stopping the spread of COVID-19 within the school system has been one of East Lansing’s top priorities since the outbreak in late 2019.
East Lansing Public Schools has begun participating in on-site COVID-19 testing. The program is offered through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the district works directly with the Midwest Coordination Center to implement the program.
Dori Leyko, superintendent of East Lansing Public Schools, said on-site COVID-19 testing has been a learning experience.
“The weekly COVID testing has been a bit of a challenge to get going, but I think we’ve got the system down after a couple weeks. We are one of the first and only local districts to participate in this program, so a few kinks had to be worked out. But it’s been worth it – we have about 470 staff members and students registered to participate in the weekly testing.”
Students need to be 18 or older to participate, and parents of younger students to provide consent for them to participate.
Two rounds of Google forms have been released to parents, staff and students to register. Participants’ information is uploaded and they are asked to create an account and sign the consent and HIPAA forms.
Hugh Hankenson, a senior at East Lansing High School, has not personally engaged in COVID-19 testing this year, but he has participated in the past.
“East Lansing is doing a really good job of spreading information about their testing and about vaccination as well. It’s definitely my impression that students are taking advantage of it, particularly athletes in terms of making sure that they can stay involved with sports,” said Hankenson.
All athletes were required to get antigen tested once a week last year. East Lansing High School ran about 400 antigen tests. This year, the requirements are different.
Nicole Norris, athletic director of East Lansing High School, is no longer required to weekly test her athletes.
“We offer testing for any of our students in our district, but it is not required for athletic participation … a lot of our high school students are vaccinated,” said Norris
On-site COVID-19 testing may not be required, but it is available if needed. Much more information about the program is available at: www.testedandprotected.org.