Before participating in any extracurricular activity, Sharyland students will be required to test negative for COVID-19.
Last week, the school district started practice for fall sports on campus and students from other extracurricular activities such as marching band, dance and cheerleading followed suit.
At a Wednesday school board workshop, Sharyland student services assistant superintendent Belinda S. Gorena said these students will have to be tested for COVID-19 and will have three opportunities to do so next week.
Starting Monday, free COVID-19 testing will be done at the Richard S. Thompson Stadium in partnership with the United States National Guard. The drive-thru oral swab testing will start Monday, Oct. 12 from 1 p.m. through 5 p.m., Tuesday Oct. 13 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 17 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
No pre-registration will be required and students will need to have parental consent forms signed if their parents aren’t at the test sites with them, Gorena said.
“It is open to the public but this is a good way to provide three windows of opportunities for students getting ready to come on-campus for extracurricular activities to get tested,” Gorena said. “Students will be asked to isolate until they get results within 48 hours and if they test negative, they have to show results to their coaches before being allowed back to practice.”
Students can also get tested with their family doctor and provide those results if they don’t want to take part in the free testing, Gorena said.
As the district prepares to open for on-campus learning later this month, Sharyland announced another step for more transparency regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Wednesday, the campus announced the implementation of a COVID-19 dashboard which tracks the amount of Sharyland students and staff members who have tested positive for the disease and breaks down the cases by campus.
The dashboard, which will be updated every Monday and can be found on the Sharyland website by clicking on the “COVID-19” banner, says there are currently five students and three staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19.
Under its Parents Choice Plan, parents will have the option to decide if their children will return to campus once the district reopens its doors to the public on Monday, Oct. 26.
To help the students on campus remain safe, Sharyland officials discussed the possibility of having virtual care available for students.
Sharyland district Maintenance and Operations Director Mark Dougherty informed the board of a Telemedicine program for kids and adults called Virtual Care for Families, which is similar to programs available in the Mission, PSJA, Hidalgo and Valley View school districts.
The program, Dougherty explained, features a virtual health center would be implemented in every campus where if a student feels sick, they can receive a rapid strep, flu or COVID-19 test and based on their diagnosis, are prescribed over the counter medication and are possibly sent home.
School nurses would monitor the teleconference, Dougherty said.
“It’s convenient and done right away under a licensed doctor’s immediate care,” Dougherty said, adding that the program would come at no cost to the district and works with most health insurance companies.
“The parent’s insurance may get billed a small amount but students who are part of the free or reduced lunch program would get care for free,” Dougherty said.
The board approved sending out requests for proposals to see if other companies offer this program and agreed to discuss the possible implementation of this program at a later meeting.