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Chesapeake School Board passes extra COVID safety measures, including athlete testing

The division will follow a 10-day quarantine versus a 14-day, add more contact tracers and require student athletes to get COVID tests.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Extra COVID-19 safety procedures are coming to Chesapeake Public Schools.

Last year about 40% of Chesapeake students participated in virtual school. This year Superintendent Dr. Jared Cotton said only 3% are virtual while 97% of students attend in-person classes.

On Monday night the Chesapeake School Board voted to pass three new measures.

The division will follow a 10-day quarantine versus a 14-day, add more contact tracers and require student athletes to get COVID tests.

“In Chesapeake, we want to do everything possible to keep our students engaged in sports because they have lost so much over the last 18 to 20 months,” said Cotton.

Dr. Cotton said to keep activities in play, winter student athletes will get COVID tested weekly unless they’re vaccinated.

“We wanted to give our families the options,” Cotton said.

The division’s dashboard shows more than 1,000 students had to quarantine last week. This indicates that students came in close contact with an infected person but doesn’t mean they have COVID.

Dr. Cotton said students now only must quarantine for 10 days, and then provide a negative test.

“We have been working with our local health department, and VDH said that a day is an option you can consider,” Cotton said.

Contact tracing is a big part of keeping school doors open, but it’s time-consuming. The division is working to hire 30 part-time contact tracers.

“Get that burden off of our nurses so we can quickly follow up with families and follow up with contact tracing,” Cotton said.

Dr. Cotton said student safety is number one.

“Priority on students being in school and Chesapeake has done that from the beginning,” Cotton said.

The school division will provide at-home COVID tests for students who need one. They are receiving funding help from a grant called ViSSTA to provide testing and tracing resources.

On October 4, the school division is opening up the floor to the community in an online webinar to talk about the new protocols and answer any questions.