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Eugene K-12 School Districts Opt-In To Voluntary COVID Testing

University of Oregon

Eugene 4J and Bethel School Districts have opted-in to a voluntary weekly testing program for COVID-19. It’s administered by the University of Oregon.

4J Schools Chief of Staff Kerry Delf said the free voluntary testing will help the district track cases.

“They will weekly get a take-home test that will be sent back in,” Delf said. “That’s not for testing for somebody who has symptoms, but just a check-in to help to identify where there are unidentified cases, and tracking in our system. So that’s encouraged for staff and for students to sign up for.”

Under the program, schools are not informed of test results, but may be notified by public health officials if contact tracing is required.

A UO spokesperson tells KLCC, as of Sept. 5, they've had 1,700 students sign up to recieve test kits. They include schools in Lane, Douglas, Curry, Coos, Josephine and Jackson Counties.  They expect a sizeable increase in student enrollment in the next several weeks. The service will be available for the entire 2021-22 school year and students can be signed up for testing any time.  

"It's just a really nice way to do surveillance," Lane County Senior Public Health Officer Dr. Patrick Luedtke told KLCC on the Friday Show. "In addition to vaccinating people and having those spheres of protection around kids, having the testing surveillance is really important too."

The take home kits collect saliva for testing.

Copyright 2021 KLCC.

Rachael McDonald is News Director at KLCC. She’s been with the station for more than 10 years. Previously, she established the Richland, Washington bureau for the Northwest News Network. She also worked as News Director at KAZU in Monterey, California. Rachael has won numerous awards for her reporting.