Amarillo ISD free COVID testing: 9.6% positivity rate in students, 24.2% total including staff

Local News

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Amarillo ISD wrapped up week one of free COVID-19 testing for students on Friday and made testing data available, including for continued staff testing.

Since this Tuesday, the district tested 197 symptomatic students currently enrolled in Amarillo ISD. The district said 178 were negative and 19 tested positive. The Amarillo ISD student positivity rate as of Friday, Dec. 11 was 9.6% at their drive-thru testing site.

Testing data was provided to by Amarillo ISD’s Executive Director of Human Resources, Chris Tatum.

“We hate every single positive. We don’t want anybody to feel bad. We don’t even want anyone to be sick, but when we think about it, that’s less than 10%. So that’s, that’s a really good rate for our students,” said Tatum.

That testing has been available to AISD staff for five weeks now. In total, 1,132 people, most of whom are staff members, have been tested at the site to date, with 858 negatives and 274 positives. AISD’s total positivity rate for COVID-19 sits at 24.2% as of Friday, Dec. 11.

The testing site is located at the AISD Rod Schroder Education Support Center at 7200 I-40 Frontage Road in Amarillo.

“Our hope and prayer right now, is that we continue to see a decline in our testing and our positivity rates and any positive that we have like we’ve seen for about the last week and a half,” said Tatum. “We hope and pray that the city continues to see that that decline that they’re seeing, you know, right now.”

Tatum said the district is getting positive feedback on the testing site, as most people are not waiting more than 15 minutes for a test, with quick results afterward.

However, Tatum said not everyone is bringing what is required to be tested.

“One thing we’ve seen is a lot of folks aren’t coming with the consent form. We have to have that consent form. We have copies at the site, but it slows it down. So, if people have a printer at home, and they can print it out and fill that out before they get there, that’s fantastic. Then pre-registering, obviously, they have to do that as well,” said Tatum.

AISD also requires all students being tested to have a parent present, in addition to the consent form.

The testing site will not be available for AISD students and staff during the two-week Christmas break, which starts when school ends on Friday, Dec. 18. Classes will resume on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.

“We really do hope that people really will just pay close attention to them themselves and they’re, you know, being masked and being well, and being socially distant, and following all the CDC guidelines over the holiday,” Tatum added. “So when we do come back in January, we can start with most of our staff and most of our students in place.”

According to Tatum, the district is still enforcing masking and social distancing rules and their protective desk shields are installed at schools throughout Amarillo ISD.

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