LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Five Jefferson County Public Schools testing sites extended their hours Monday, a response to increased demand for testing the day before students return to classrooms.

The following locations offered testing on Jan. 3 from noon to 7 p.m.:

  • Academy @ Shawnee (4001 Herman St.)
  • Ballard High School (6000 Brownsboro Road)
  • Marion C. Moore School (6415 Outer Loop)
  • Southern High School (8620 Preston Highway)
  • Valley High School (10200 Dixie Highway)

Families and employees are encouraged to register prior to arrival. To do so, click here. For a full list of testing sites, click here.

Thousands of JCPS students, staff and their families are making a mad dash to get tested for COVID-19 before school starts back Tuesday. Several people waited for testing in long lines Sunday, and those lines were expected to continue Monday.

Some people got to the testing site Monday an hour before it opened.

"We sat in line a couple of hours yesterday, so I knew to get here early today," said Jeremy Doner, a JCPS parent.

His wife is a teacher, and she recently tested positive.

"My kids are negative, so we want to try to separate the household if we have to," Doner said. "So I thought I'd get tested to see if I need to stay further away from my kids or need to quarantine."

According to the district's COVID-19 dashboard, JCPS is starting the semester with more than 500 students and staff COVID-19 positive and more than 100 more quarantined.

The district has had more than 50 locations for free testing during winter break. In the last several days, those sites have been packed. On Sunday alone, JCPS said more than 6,000 people were tested at its locations.

Officials are urging every student and staff member to get tested Monday, especially if anyone who feels sick or has been exposed to the virus.

"This latest surge is going to be a challenge, but testing is going to be an integral part of that because, again, picking up on pre-symptomatic or people who aren't having symptoms is just important to help control the spread," said Dr. Eva Stone, health services manager for JCPS.

JCPS said regardless of new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it will continue its COVID-19 protocols until there are changes at the state level. That means quarantine for students and staff who test positive will stay at 10 days.

"In-person learning is so critical for our children," Stone said. "It's important for our families to be at work. We know that the new variant, the omicron variant, is in Louisville. We know that it's more contagious, and so it's those prevention strategies that are critically important to help prevent the spread of COVID."

As school starts back, JCPS said masks will continue to be required. Doner said he's happy they offered the tests during winter break.

"I think it gives people an idea of where they stand," he said. "If you know you for sure have it, you can stay home and help protect other people. And if you're not, it gives you the ability to go to school and participate in everyday normal life."

JCPS doesn't anticipate having drive-up testing sites once kids go back to school. School nurses will have tests on-hand to administer them in the buildings.

The district said it will keep a close eye on data and make changes as needed.

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