DCPS offering COVID-19 test kits to families with sick students

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — As the omicron variant spreads, COVID cases are spiking at Duval County Public Schools.

Adrienne Billops has a son in kindergarten.

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”I’m mindful to not let it overwhelm me because I know he needs that educational and social experience, so I don’t let it deter me,” she said.

Just as cases began spiking, the health department in Duval County decided to no longer conduct contact tracing in DCPS schools, Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene announced in an email Friday.

Parents like Billops say the timing couldn’t have been worse.

”If a child is infected with the virus and my child isn’t, how am I to prepare him for that?” she questioned.

But the school district is offering several ways to keep students safe.

”If students are exhibiting symptoms, parents can call the school and request a take-home COVID test; they just need to come pick it up,” Greene said.

In a January letter to families, the district revealed symptomatic students can get a free Ellume test kit.

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It’s one of five ways the district is trying to stop the post-holiday spread of COVID.

Under Florida law, DCPS cannot require the use of face masks by students.

”Even though they’re not making the masks mandatory, I do still ask him to wear his,” Billops said about her son.