Carlsbad Municipal Schools opens drive-thru COVID testing site for students and staff
Carlsbad Municipal Schools opened a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site for students and staff that offers same-day results on Nov. 30.
The testing site will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in the parking lot of Edison Elementary School, 406 N. Alameda across from the Baptist Church.
Carlsbad Municipal Schools Human Resources Director Lisa Robison said the testing site allows the district to conduct a test-to-stay program that aims to keep children in schools.
The program allows unvaccinated students to stay in school if they test negative for COVID-19 if they come in close contact with someone with the virus, according to the New Mexico Public Education Department's updated guidelines.
Prior to the update that was published on Nov. 2, students were asked to quarantine for at least 10 days.
The new program requires students that are exposed to be tested three times, on days one, three and five following possible exposure.
Robison said the site will also make surveillance testing easier and more accessible for teachers and staff.
"They just drive up, stay in their car and people come out to meet them," Robinson said. "It's a shallow nasal test..."
Robinson said the new testing system — provided by Premier Medical Group USA —can mean results are available within 15 to 30 minutes.
The previous system used for surveillance testing required teachers and staff to administer the test themselves and mail it to a lab for results.
Carlsbad Schools Superintendent Dr. Gerry Washburn told the Current-Argus that teachers and students can still get tests from other sources such as Walgreens or a doctor, or even continue to use the older system.
Washburn and Robinson said the program will also make things easier for teachers who need to continue to teach students in quarantine remotely while managing in person classes.
"It's just good for the students to stay in school whenever possible," Robinson said.
Claudia Silva is a reporter from the UNM Local Reporting Fellowship. She can be reached at email@example.com, by phone at 575-361-6793 or on Twitter @thewatchpup.