BCS to offer athletes biweekly COVID-19 testing

Local News

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Birmingham City Schools has joined forces with medical groups to test all fall sports athletes, cheerleaders and band members biweekly for the coronavirus.

BCS announced a partnership with Live HealthSmart Alabama and the UAB Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center (MHRC) to conduct the testing.

“As we continue to look at data, it is abundantly clear that this disease is wreaking havoc on majority black and brown communities. Our goal in offering the test is to help protect our students and their families,” BCS Superintendent Dr. Mark Sullivan said. “This is a game-changer that will help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”

The tests will be offered starting Sept. 28. Each school will be given a specific date and scheduled time for testing. The tests will be done via nasal swab.

BCS Athletic Director Henry Pope says testing isn’t mandatory but encouraged. He believes having this option available at the schools is a game-changer.

“We are looking at ways to help, to assist, to really mitigate. We want to make sure we are empowering the parents and the students so they know what’s going on. We want to be proactive instead of reactive,” Pope said.

Positive tests will only be reported to the student or their parents. That student will then have to quarantine for 14 days.

The cost for the tests will be covered by private insurance or through the CARES Act from Jefferson County. Students with insurance will need to present an insurance card upon arrival for a test. Those without insurance will have their tests covered.


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