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Spokane Public Schools could begin state COVID-19 testing program in January

The program funded by Washington state offers voluntary COVID-19 screening and testing for SPS students and staff.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane Public Schools is one of 10 districts in Washington state that is set to participate in a COVID-19 testing program, according to a letter sent to families.

The state-funded program, which offers voluntary COVID-19 screening and testing for students and staff, is a collaboration with the Washington State Department of Health, the letter reads. 

Kindergarteners at schools within SPS returned to the classroom the first week of October, followed by first-grade students on Nov. 9. In late November, 1,600 second-graders returned to class in two groups on alternating schedules. 

In the letter sent to families, SPS reiterated that COVID-19 transmission in its school has been "extremely rare."

"In light of the rising county case counts, we want to assure you that we remain committed to following public health guidance on the process to reopen schools," the letter continues. 

The district is in the initial exploration and planning stages of the state testing program, according to the letter. It is possible that testing could begin in January. 

"Our participation will inform the Washington State Department of Health’s planning for possible expansion to other school districts," the letter reads. 

In the coming weeks, SPS is expected to provide staff and families information related to testing protocols, COVID-19 tests, volunteer testing and contact tracing. 

"SPS will continue to collaborate with state and local health officials to navigate the evolving pandemic. It is our goal to put the best possible protocols in place to address the safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and families," the letter reads.