FTIS takes another step to stop the spread of COVID-19 with the ‘Test to Stay’ method


Treiston Collins

English Teacher Lauren Peterson’s third-period class practice class safely with the new test to stay policies in place.

     Since the beginning of last year, the Fort Thomas Independent Schools District (FTIS) has had a policy to help keep students safe. According to the FTIS Healthy at Schools webpage, there are three different ways an individual can quarantine as long as you have no symptoms.

     One option is to quarantine for 14 days, especially if a student or staff are going to be around people that are high-risk for the virus (elderly, people with comorbidities, immunocompromised).

     Another way is to quarantine for 10 days if a person is exposed but has no symptoms.

     And finally, quarantining for 7 days if an individual has a negative COVID-19 test on or after day 5 and has no symptoms.

     However, with these three options, it requires students and staff to miss multiple hours of important instructional time. This has caused keeping up with assignments and quizzes very difficult for many students.

     Recently, a new protocol was introduced known as the “Test to Stay Protocol.” This protocol will take a student who has been exposed to a person who was diagnosed with COVID-19 and test them one time every day for 7 days.

     The test is a rapid COVID-19 test, so students will receive results just in time for their first-period classes.

     FTIS Assistant Superintendent Jamee Flaherty, via email, wrote about the implementation of how FTIS was going to implement the use of Test to Stay Protocol.

     “Each day, more and more students are able to stay at school and participate in after-school events because of the negative tests,” said Flaherty.

     According to FTIS Superintendent Brian Robinson, everything so far has gone smoothly.

     “I don’t have any concerns with the test to stay policies, we didn’t go rogue so it’s not something we decided on our own.”

     Students report to the Central Office on the lower level, and then the company FTIS partners with, Gravity, provides an employee to swab a student, and then the student go to their car and await results.

     “We open as early as 7:15, so it’s not available for the early bird, but you still will be able to go into your first through sixth periods.” 

     This helps give students 45 minutes to get in and get tested before classes, considering their first period starts around eight o’clock.

     With this new policy, schools hope to lower the number of students who have to be sent home for COVID-19 symptoms and exposure.

     Robinson said, “[On Thursday of last week] we would have had 14 students out, but thanks to testing to stay, they got to stay in school.”