Student getting COVID-19 tested as part of the JCPS 'Test-to-Stay' program

Student getting COVID-19 tested as part of the JCPS 'Test-to-Stay' program

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The company providing COVID-19 testing for Jefferson County Public Schools had been paid nearly $3 million by mid-November from federal grants for school-based screening during the coronavirus pandemic.

The lion’s share of that money, available through grants from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services totaling $134 million, was paid to SphereDX after Kentucky’s largest school district implemented “test-to-stay” and “test-to-play” programs.

Records obtained Friday from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services through an open records request show SphereDX was paid $2.9 million from the federal grants between Aug. 2 and Nov. 19. That’s more than 2% of the total funding available through the school-based COVID-19 testing grants.

The company, which also provides testing for some local private schools, earned nearly $2.7 million from the federal school-based testing grants between Oct. 25 and Nov. 19, which covers the period when JCPS began its major COVID-19 screening programs for students, state records show.

JCPS, which has partnered with SphereDX for COVID-19 testing since the district offered free screenings at schools and more than 50 drive-thru sites, began it’s voluntary “test-to-stay” program meant to curb the numbers of students sent home to quarantine after exposures to positive coronavirus cases on Oct. 18.

Students who opt to participate in “test-to-stay” must test negative for COVID-19 each day before they arrive at school for classroom instruction.

The district’s “test-to-play” program is mandatory for students who participate in extracurricular activities such as sports, and they must undergo weekly COVID-19 screening.

Thousands of JCPS students participate in the programs each week on average, according to Eva Stone, the district’s health services manager.

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