LC College Prep to offer voluntary COVID-19 testing to students, faculty

Published 9:01 pm Friday, September 3, 2021

Lake Charles College Prep will soon begin additional COVID-19 prevention measures by offering voluntary, weekly COVID-19 testing in partnership with LSU Health Shreveport. Beginning on Wednesday, Sept. 15, representatives from LSUS will work in conjunction with school nurse GeMar Braxton to offer free testing during the lunch hour to students and faculty.

The testing is completely voluntary and parental consent is required for students. Many parents have already signed their students up for the program, Braxton said. 

“We’ve had a very positive response from parents signing their students up,” Braxton said. “With parents especially, it can be an inconvenience to come from work and find somewhere to test. I just feel like this will be a great convenience for everyone.”

Students and faculty who test will receive $25 for the first test and $10 for each additional via a prepaid debit card or online account sponsored by the federal government, Henry Mancuso, superintendent, said. “This is the soft part of the infrastructure bill,” he said. 

Test results will be returned the next day and ideally will cut down on the number of students who have to go home due to close contact, Braxton said. “We’ll be able to test both symptomatic and asymptomatic people. Hopefully, we’ll be able to nip it (COVID-19) in the bud because most of the time people don’t get tested until they have symptoms. But you’re contagious at least two days before you show symptoms, so this will cut down on the amount of people that are exposed to the virus to begin with.”

A nasal swab will be administered for the test. Mancuso emphasized, for students especially, the swab will enter within less than an inch of the nostril.

“There’s so much said in both seriousness and in jest about it touching your brain. But they’re very clear that it’s only three quarters of an inch into the nostril,” he said. 

Like Braxton, Mancuso expressed great excitement about the new program because of the positive effect it will have on learning this school year. “The big thing for us is that in-person learning is just so much better than virtual learning. If we can do anything to provide a safe environment that would prevent a disruption to in-person learning then we are willing to do so. This seemed like one of the perfect steps for that plan.”

After the launch of the COVID-19 testing, LCCP will also begin offering a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in partnership with Boudreaux’s New Drug Store, Mancuso added. For more information contact GeMar Braxton at 419-2868.