With a high number of COVID-19 cases throughout south Louisiana, the St. Charles Parish Public School System has partnered with Access Health Louisiana to provide system employees the opportunity for curbside COVID-19 testing.
“Local schools are feeling the pain as more students and teachers test positive or need to be quarantined due to exposure to someone with COVID-19, and they needed a way to be able to test teachers and staff quickly in order to be able to keep educators in the classroom,” Chenier Reynolds-Montz, AHL’s director of outreach and development, said. “District leaders were proactive in trying to create avenues to keep their faculty safe.”
Together the school district and AHL created a workflow that allowed teachers the option to quickly schedule a time for testing at either St. Charles Community Health Center location. With rapid test kits available, healthcare professionals can determine whether a person is positive within 15 minutes of taking the test.
The main goal of the testing program, Montz said, is to keep students safe in the classroom and protect teachers so they can continue doing what they do best.
“When a teacher exhibits two or more symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough or shortness of breath, school nurses give them a form and tell them to schedule a time for testing,” Montz said. “Teachers call a designated phone number and schedule their appointment time. When they arrive at the clinic for testing, they call a number and a member of the clinical team comes out to their car to administer the test.”
Employees at east bank schools schedule appointments at the health center in Norco and west bank employees are seen at the health center in Luling. All employees sign an agreement that allows AHL to share their test results with the school district.
“This way, school leaders can know when a teacher can return to the classroom safely,” Montz said. “If a teacher is positive, they follow protocols outlined by the district and coordinated with head school district nurse Arolyn Honor.”
Honor said the testing process has been very effective and has received positive feedback from school employees.
“This partnership is important as we continue to work together as a community, utilize the resources available to us and provide this local testing service to our employees to reduce travel time in order to be tested,” Honor said. “We will continue to work together and do our part to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 not only in our schools, but in the entire St. Charles Parish community.”
Kaycee Donnaud, assistant vice president of operations at the health center in Luling, said the drive-up nature of the service has been appreciated by employees.
“They like not having to get out of their car to come into the clinic when they’re not feeling well. It’s truly curbside service,” Donnaud said. “I have three children in St. Charles Parish Schools, and as a parent I appreciate the fact that the school district is making it easy for teachers to get tested so that children can continue in-person learning. We are doing everything we can to make testing as convenient as possible.”
Access Health Louisiana provides primary care, behavioral health, telemedicine, teletherapy, dental and pharmacy services in for all residents in St. Charles Parish. To schedule an appointment time, call 1-866-530-6111 or for more information visit accesshealthla.org.