The South Middleton School District may establish a testing site for COVID-19 at its main campus in Boiling Springs.
School board members plan to discuss logistics and parameters for using the proposed site when the safety and security committee meets in January.
Alex Smith, director of student services, informed council on Monday of a proposal to install a modular office unit next to the district maintenance building, which is across from the high school parking lot.
The plan is to use the electricity from the maintenance building to supply electricity and heat to the modular unit so that it can be used as a test site from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays in from January-February and at least until May.
Smith suggested the hours to avoid college and high school traffic jams during student arrivals and departures.
District administrators have made an agreement with a local ambulance service to provide the staff needed to conduct the tests, Smith said. One of the goals of this initiative is to enable the district to implement a test mitigation strategy to stay, he said.
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The Test to Stay allows students and staff to continue learning in person while minimizing quarantine disruptions for students, families and schools, according to information posted on the Pennsylvania Department of Health website.
Knowing the scarcity of resources and the current limitations of testing, it would be beneficial to have a site on campus to test students who may have been in close contact with someone positive for COVID, Smith said. The district is minimizing the potential for the disease to spread by locating the testing site in a unit separate from a school building, he said.
The original plan was to place the order before the holidays so that the modular unit could be ready for use as early as January after the safety and security committee meeting to develop the recommended changes to the district health and safety plan. .
But board members voted 5-4 on Monday against the motion to acquire the unit. They questioned the wisdom of entering into a rental agreement before all the details were worked out. Although approved earlier in the meeting, the agreement with the ambulance service is pending the results of the January committee meeting.
Although the next meeting is scheduled for January 19, committee chair Rodney Wagner said an earlier meeting could be scheduled for the first week of January.
There was a discussion among council members prior to the unit rental vote.
âI think it’s a great idea, but there are too many questions at this point,â said Terry Draper. “Who is going to use it?” I have concerns about the people who come to campus during the school day.
There was talk Monday among school administrators about allowing district taxpayers and even the general public to use the test site. It was mentioned that the monthly rental fee could be offset using money from the COVID relief grant.
Bethanne Sellers said the initial rental of $ 500 was a small price to pay to ensure a modular unit was available as soon as possible. She said she was confident the questions could be answered in January.
Draper voted against the motion with board members Tony Lucido, Robin Scherer, Eric Berry and Shannon Snyder. Sellers, Wagner, Chairman of the Board Brad Group and Member Bill Hartman voted in favor of the motion.
After the vote, Sellers reiterated their concerns about putting the proposed testing site on hold.
“I do not agree with the regrouping,” she said. âMy feeling was to move on. This is crucial. We will come back from [winter] break away from a lot more cases and we have to be prepared.
Lucido said that, from the way it sounded, most of the board members who voted no did so only because they had questions and just wanted a few more details.
Email Joseph Cress at [email protected]