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Fairfax County Public Schools to begin 'Test to Stay' program at 7 of its schools

Here's a look at how the program works.

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — Some parents can expect changes to Fairfax County Public Schools' COVID-19 protocols as it launches the new Test to Stay program on Monday, Jan. 31. 

The schools that will implement the new practice are South Lakes High, Robinson Secondary, Katherine Johnson Middle School, Glasgow Middle School, Bush Hill Elementary School, Baileys Elementary School, and Hybla Valley Elementary School, according to an FCPS spokesperson.

Test to Stay (TTS) is a Virginia Department of Health program that allows students who are close contacts to COVID positive people at school to stay in the classroom, rather than quarantine at home, if that close contact takes a COVID rapid test and is negative. The close contact would need to continue testing for five days after the exposure, with their parents' consent, per the VDH guidelines.

Upon receiving a negative test, the student can stay in school and will be required to wear a mask for ten days. Test kits will be free. Staff is not currently eligible.

Eligible students must be unvaccinated, asymptomatic, identified as a close contact via exposure that occurred at school, doing school-sponsored extracurricular activities, or during the bus ride to or from school, according to an FCPS spokesperson.

RELATED: Fairfax Co. Public Schools part of 'test to stay' pilot program

Some parents said the program is too little too late, but support the alternative to what they said were long quarantines of healthy children. 

A VDH spokesperson previously told WUSA9 an anticipated ten school divisions would participate in a four-week pilot of the program, which is funded through a grant from the CDC.

RELATED: 'Test-to-stay' | CDC updates COVID-19 guidance for schools

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