Arlington Public Schools launch COVID test-to-stay program

Arlington public school students who are unvaccinated and have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 will need to take a coronavirus test in order to stay at school.

The new policy, starting on Feb. 14, comes as the school system takes part in the Virginia Department of Health’s Test-to-Stay Program, which can offer some students an alternative to staying home due to exposure to the virus.

The program is for exposure cases that happen at the county’s schools. According to VDH, unvaccinated students that are exposed at school will be required to take at-home tests before school, for five days after the exposure.

Arlington Public Schools said proctored testing will also be available for those students at the Syphax Education Center from 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on school days.

The updated Arlington policy follows suit with neighboring Fairfax County, which began its test-to-stay program in January.

On its website, VDH said students who test-to-stay must have been exposed at school, on a school bus, in a community setting or in their household. They must also be asymptomatic, not up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccines and willing and able to mask.

The state also recommends any student who tests positive, develops symptoms or who cannot mask be sent home to self-isolate after exposure.

Arlington County schools have already been allowing parents to opt children into a weekly testing program at schools.

Starting on Monday, the school system will beef up its ability to test students by adding another testing firm to the mix. Aegis Solutions will join the current testing company ResourcePath, in setting up testing events at schools.

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Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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