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CMS Board of Education provides update on COVID-19 testing plan

Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris has urged the school district to put weekly testing in place for staff who aren't vaccinated.

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board of Education met Tuesday night, and as part of the meeting, board leaders discussed COVID-19 precautions both currently in place and in the works.

Starting Sept. 20, all CMS staff will be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination status. Anyone who is not vaccinated or does not show proof will have to be tested weekly for COVID-19.

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"These programs are designed to help keep our schools open for in-person instruction and you keep our community safe," Superintendent Earnest Winston said. 

RELATED: CMS to begin testing unvaccinated staffers

Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris has urged the school district to put weekly testing in place for staff who aren't vaccinated and to implement on-campus rapid testing for students and staff with symptoms.

RELATED: 'We are concerned' | Mecklenburg County health director provides CMS with recommendations to limit COVID-19 spread

At the start of the school year a few weeks ago, those steps were not yet in place. 

A report attached to the meeting agenda shows the COVID-19 testing program is set to be carried out by Concentric by Ginkgo Bioworks, which is listed as a contracted partner with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. 

The district will enact the testing for unvaccinated staff in a phased-in approach. 

Those who are not vaccinated at half of the district's elementary schools will start weekly testing the week of Sept. 27. 

The district will gradually work its way up to the staff at high schools by the week of Oct. 25. It's important to note, students will need parental consent in order to be tested on campus. 

The district's head of Human Resources told the CMS Board of Education Tuesday night that ultimately, staff could be terminated for not following the new policy. 

Contact Hunter Sáenz at hsaenz@wcnc.com and follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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