BASD will Partner with St. Luke’s to Provide COVID-19 Testing for Students and Staff

Written by on September 18, 2020

Bethlehem Area School District will Partner with St. Luke’s University Health Network to Provide COVID-19 Testing for Students and Staff

By Genesis Ortega

September 18, 2020

A worker verifies a coronavirus drive-thru testing appointment at a Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP) station in Curtis Bay, Md., Wednesday, April 1, 2020. Maryland opened three drive-thru testing sites for residents who are symptomatic or at high risk of complications from COVID-19. The tests are offered at three vehicle emissions testing sites in Anne Arundel, Charles and Harford counties. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The Bethlehem Area School District announced last week that they would be partnering with St. Luke’s University Health Network to provide expedited testing for students with COVID-19 symptoms.

St. Luke’s infectious disease specialist Dr. Jeffrey Jahre says this initiative is thanks in part to Superintendent Joe Roy. 

“You need to get accurate, rapid, turnaround time of appropriate testing. And luckily we’ve been able to furnish that so far, and we’re hoping that we’ll be able to meet any potential surge that comes our way.”

Jahre says that despite the increase in cases — the school district is making the appropriate call for their students and staff in continuing the hybrid teaching model, combining online and in-person learning.

“When you look at whether schools should or shouldn’t be open. It really comes down to an individual level. And part of the things that help you make that decision is are we in a community right now that we would call a red zone.”

Jahre says the district is not in that situation, with a disproportionate number of COVID-19 cases. But he does foresee a ramp up in testing as cases continue to increase in the district. 

“The more cases that you have, the more testing that you want to do. It’s extremely important to do that testing to get to the appropriate contacts and see whether they need to be put into isolation.”

Dr. Jahre says that the need for socialization and access to meals for lower-income students are an important consideration in keeping schools open. 

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