Drive-through COVID-19 rapid testing sites could come to Palm Beach County School District

Florida Department of Health would operate testing locations in West Palm Beach, Belle Glade
Posted at 10:57 AM, Aug 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-01 07:31:37-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Two drive-through COVID-19 rapid testing sites could be coming to the School District of Palm Beach County in a matter of days.

School board members on Wednesday are scheduled to vote on an agreement between the Florida Department of Health and Palm Beach County School Board to open a pair of mass antigen testing locations on school district property for students, their families, and district employees.

The testing sites would be at the Chuck Shaw Technical Education Center, located at 4260 Westgate Avenue in West Palm Beach, as well as the West Technical Education Center, located at 2625 Northwest 16th Street in Belle Glade.

More testing sites could be added, if needed.

According to the school board's agenda, the sites would be able to conduct up to 1,000 COVID-19 rapid antigen tests.

If approved, the agreement would start on Thursday and last for at least 30 days.

The School District of Palm Beach County already offers rapid COVID-19 testing in schools for symptomatic students. However, Superintendent Michael Burke has expressed interest in expanding testing beyond that to cover more children and employees.

"I am working and checking with vendors to provide some additional testing," Burke said during a back-to-school breakfast hosted by the Palm Beach North Chamber of Commerce on Aug. 18. "We've restarted our athletic programs and all of our clubs and activities. I think there's opportunities to do more testing to try to help control, to keep things safe."

There have been 3,219 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the School District of Palm Beach County -- including 2,750 students and 469 employees -- since the 2021/22 academic year started on Aug. 10.

As of Monday, 4,304 students have been told to stay home because of possible exposure to COVID-19.

RELATED: New quarantine policy for Palm Beach County students

According to the school district's COVID-19 policy, if a student is exposed to a coronavirus-positive case and they are asymptomatic, they can return to school after receiving a negative COVID-19 test at least four days after the date of exposure.

If a student tests positive for COVID-19 or is symptomatic following exposure to an infected individual, they can return to school after the student receives a negative COVID test and is asymptomatic.