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St. Helena schools ready to test every student for COVID

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Schools in Saint Helena Parish are gearing up for district-wide COVID-19 testing. All students will be tested when they return to class Monday.

Officials have also closed area schools Friday to deep clean campuses.

"We've been opened since July, and we've had no more than five or six kids that have actually tested positive," St. Helena College and Career Academy School Principal Brandon Fontenot said.

The move comes after the St. Helena College and Career Academy football team was exposed to the virus by an opposing player. St. Helena players tested negative, but school officials decided to go ahead with a system-wide cleaning and testing.

Fontenot says this is just the beginning of more aggressive testing.

"We are expecting a spike in numbers with Thanksgiving coming up. So working with the office of emergency preparedness, we will probably test kids again after Thanksgiving to make sure we're doing things so we don't have to close," he explained.

Keeping the schools clean this year is essential. St. Helena parish OEP Director Michael Martin says they've seen positive cases in students this week.

"This week we had a couple of kids that tested positive for COVID. I got a phone call from the superintendent, who said she wanted to make sure that our parish stays safe," he said.

From scrubbing down classrooms to disinfecting every common area, school officials say they're doing everything they can to keep people safe.

"This is truly a family, and we're going to do what we have to do to protect our kids," Fontenot said.

The COVID testing is no cost to parents, but a consent form must be signed. Students will not be allowed back on campus next week without it.


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