HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Unvaccinated student athletes and coaches at Henrico County Public Schools are now required to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.
The district said this will help keep winter sports enthusiasts and their coaches safe during close contact activities.
“By screening our student athletes, we hope to identify any disease or asymptomatic people who are COVID positive before others are exposed,” said Eileen Cox of HCPS. “Most winter sports are played indoors and require close contact between student athletes. For example, you cannot wrestle without being very close to your competitor.”
The compulsory test starts on Monday 15 November.
Henrico’s school principals said players and coaches would not be able to practice or compete without the tests.
Vaccinated players can choose to take the tests, but this is not mandatory.
These tests are part of the “Virginia School Screening Testing Assurance” program. It is a partnership between the Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Department of Education to bring on-site covid testing to classrooms.
The program was launched in Henrico in October, so weekly testing was not necessary for fall sports.
Henrico’s leaders said there will be a level of privacy in the tests. They take place in different parts of the school and players will sniff their own noses and the results will come in within 24 hours.
Testing for high school winter sports begins on November 29.