Lynden Testing Site Aims to Keep Students in School

Lynden Schools knows the importance of keeping students in school, so the district has worked under the rules allowed by the state and health departments to create a test-to-stay program for any student deemed a close contact of an exposure to COVID-19 at school.

“With the new requirements, schools have more flexibility to use testing as a tool to stay at school,” says Tim Metz, Lynden Schools director of special programs. “If students are identified as a close contact at school due to exposure, they can stay at school if parents agree to testing.” Last year, the state rules required an automatic 10-day or 14-day quarantine for the students.

By creating a centralized testing site, first at the Main Street Campus and now at the old Fisher Elementary gym, district students and staff have a place they know they can get immediate rapid antigen testing with results within 15 minutes. Students and staff can also register for a PCR test that provides results in 24 to 48 hours. The testing kits and staffing—the site has four full-time employees—is funded through the Department of Health in a program available to all schools that have done the necessary work to apply and receive the funding.

“It’s been a significant amount of logistical work to get this up and running,” Metz says. “Now, instead of triggering entire classrooms as close contacts and sending them home, we have a solution. Through testing the students can remain in school.”

Boy using crayon on a piece of paper
Two girl soccer players
Two girls in a classroom