HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Unvaccinated student athletes and coaches in Henrico County Public Schools are required to get weekly COVID-19 tests.
The district said this will help keep winter sports athletes and their coaches safe during close-contact activities.
“By screening our student-athletes, we hope to identify any illness or asymptomatic people who are COVID-positive before others are exposed,” said Eileen Cox with HCPS. “Most winter sports are played indoors and require close contact between student-athletes. For example, you can’t wrestle without being in very close proximity to your competitor.”
Henrico school leaders said, without the testing, players and coaches won’t be able to practice or compete.
Vaccinated players can opt to take the tests but it is not required.
These tests are part of the “Virginia School Screening Testing Assurance” Program. It’s a partnership between the Virginia Department of Health and Virginia Department of Education to bring on-site covid tests to classrooms.
The program was launched in Henrico in October, so weekly tests were not required for fall sports.
Henrico leaders said there will be a level of privacy with the tests. They’ll take place is varying parts of the school and players will swab their own nose with results coming in within 24 hours.
Testing for middle school winter sports begins on Nov. 29.