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Charlotte Public Schools first to send home COVID tests

MDHHS is launching a pilot program making COVID tests more accessible
Charlotte High School has moved to strictly virtual learning following the recent MDHHS orders.
Charlotte High School has moved to strictly virtual learning following the recent MDHHS orders.(Spencer Soicher)
Published: Nov. 19, 2021 at 5:44 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, Mich. (WILX) - The rising COVID case numbers are making it tough for schools across the state to keep children in the classroom right now, but there is a new statewide effort to reverse that trend.

Read: Face mask advisory issued for holiday season due to rise in flu, COVID-19 cases

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is launching MI Backpack Home Tests to provide free, at-home COVID tests

“For families that might have some financial barriers to testing, I would love to give the opportunity if they are interested,” said Mandy Stewart, Charlotte Public Schools Superintendent.

Charlotte is the first district in the program.

“It would be wonderful if we can screen some of our students so that we have fewer cases on campus,” said Stewart.

The state said COVID cases are up because of K-12 schools, where not everyone was able to get vaccinated until a couple of weeks ago.

Many schools, including Charlotte, had to close because too many staff and students got sick.

Read: Record-high COVID-19 cases keeps Michigan a national “hot spot”

Stewart said she signed the district up for the testing program to keep students in the classroom.

“Students that are in quarantine are testing positive. We want to make sure even if a student is asymptomatic, if the parent has the opportunity for a free test, to prevent a case from coming on campus, that’s just going to help more students be able to access live education,” said Stewart.

“We would like to support those individuals and try and make schools a safer place. And testing is a big part of that,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, Michigan’s chief medical executive.

Kits will only be sent home if parents sign up. The tests can be used whenever needed.

Stewart is hoping these tests will help students gather for the holidays.

“If you’re going to see your grandparents or your elderly parents with some underlying health conditions, just to have that reassurance,” said Stewart.

The tests kits are expected to start going home next week.

The program is open to any Charlotte student or staff member. You can sign up online here.

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