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'Test to Play' begins for JCPS students Monday

Starting November 1, JCPS students in sports or extracurriculars will have to be tested for COVID-19 every week in order to participate in those activities.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) is rolling out "Test to Play," a regular testing program for students in athletics or extracurriculars. Starting Nov. 1, students will have to be tested weekly in order to participate in these activities. 

The program aims to cut down on quarantines and allow student-athletes to participate in their full seasons.

“Everything from basketball to the chess club, those folks will be involved in Test to Play," district health manager Dr. Eva Stone said.

Students must be tested regardless of vaccination status. Tests will be provided for free at the student's school, or families can choose for students to be tested by an outside medical provider.

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“This is another measure we’re taking to keep students, their classmates, teammates and families safe,” Stone said. 

The "Test to Play" program follows the rollout of JCPS's "Test to Stay" program for students who come in close contact with positive COVID-19 cases. With "Test to Stay," students and staff members can choose to get tested to avoid having to quarantine.

With "Test to Play," parents must sign off on participation in weekly testing in order for students to continue their activities. 

At Seneca High School, basketball players said the testing will be well worth the benefits. 

"Me being a sophomore, my first year we had a normal season and I just want to get back to that," Josh Lewis said. 

"'Oh someone might have tested positive, oh someone might have to sit out.' When we hear that it does kind of bring us down," Nevaeh Saunders said. 

Seneca has about 300 students in sports and clubs. Coaches said they'll do what it takes to keep students in the game this season. 

"These kids will do whatever it takes, they just want to play, it's a sense of being normal and being teenage kids, parents are on board for the most part," athletic director Paul Holien said. 

Seneca is leading the charge on the vaccination front too, hosting the district's first in-school vaccine clinic Wednesday. 

"We had to do a lot of contact tracing and started to realize a lot of our scholars were not vaccinated, we wanted to provide an opportunity," Principal Michael Guy said.

Parents do have to sign a consent form for the "Test to Play" program. The program starts Monday, Nov. 1. 

There are more than 50 JCPS COVID-19 testing locations across the metro, including multiple mobile testing sites. You can see the full list of locations and times here.

Contact reporter Grace McKenna at gmckenna@whas11.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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