LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) will require weekly COVID-19 testing for students participating in extracurricular activities. 

What You Need To Know

  • JCBE approved test-to-stay and test-to-play protocols

  • Weekly COVID tests will be required to play winter sports and activities

  • Asymptomatic students and staff exposed to COVID may take daily tests to stay in school

  • Test-to-stay begins Oct. 17, test-to-play begins Nov. 1

On Thursday, the Jefferson County Board of Education (JCBE) unanimously approved plans to allow students and staff to come to school if exposed to COVID-19. The board also approved a plan requiring students to take weekly tests in order to participate in extracurricular actives including sports and academic clubs. The board originally took up the matter at an Oct. 5 meeting but a vote was postponed due to several unruly attendees.

There has been vocal opposition to mask mandates in schools, vaccine requirements and testing requirements. 

"You know, what I am hearing most is it's a waste of time or money, and I don't necessarily agree with that," superintendent Marty Pollio said following Thursday's vote. "We are getting grants from both the state and federal government to implement testing. Our goal was to test as many students as possible from the very begining of the school year so this only helps us."

Test-to-stay gives an asymptomatic student or staff who has been ordered to quarantine a path to continue attending in-person classes.

The now-approved plan states, they must be entirely asymptomatic, test negative for COVID-19, do not live with someone who is positive with COVID and cannot isolate, and agree to wear a mask. Same-day testing will be provided by the district free of charge. 

"I think that anyone who tests increases our likelihood staying in school," Pollio said. 

Test-to-stay protocol begins Oct. 17.

Test-to-play requires a weekly negative test to participate in all extracurricular activities beginning Nov. 1. Regarding a vaccine requirement for student-athletes, Pollio suggested there would be a degree of difficulty considering a vaccine is not approved for all school-age children and there is a potential for patient rights violations if the vaccination status of students is disclosed.

"Because we don't want to share who's vaccinated and who's not. And so that becomes a major challenge for the school then," he said.

Pollio used a hypothetical situation in saying, "How do we ensure that we are not saying you seven basketball players go get tested because you're not vaccinated, which could violate law. So that becomes a burden on the school and we think far easier just to say our athletes get tested."