By KEN CARPENTER
Great Bend Post
The Great Bend public school district has applied for funding from KDHE, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, for a program to increase testing of students and staff for the COVID-19 virus. KDHE is calling the program “Test to Stay.” Its purpose is to keep students and staff in school after they have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.
Schools Superintendent Khris Thexton told members of Great Bend’s Board of Education last night that the testing program is an alternative to quarantining students and staff.
"The bottom line for me is...I want kids in school," said Thexton. "I don’t want kids missing. What was the answer? When I started talking to other districts that do this, they said, yes, it is a lot of work on the school side, but it keeps your kids in school.”
Thexton said parents must give permission before students can be tested. Also, students who are undergoing the testing protocol will be required to wear masks until the testing is concluded. Students and staff who test positive will still be quarantined.
Thexton said the “Test to Stay” program will be fully funded by the state.
"KDHE is willing to supply us with all the testing which is the Abbott BinaxNOW Rapid Antigen Test," said Thexton. "They give you the equipment. They set this up for you to actually run this process. No cost to the district.”
If Great Bend’s application is approved, the school district will receive a grant of approximately $240,000 to implement the program.