Students in public and private Duval County Schools will have their own lane for COVID-19 testing at certain city-run sites, as long as they get verification from their school.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry made the announcement Monday, saying that four COVID-19 testing sites will have the student express lanes.
The four Duval County sites are:
- Oceanway Senior Center (12215 Sago Ave. W, 32218)
- Lane Wiley Senior Center (6710 Wiley Road, 32210)
- Leroy D. Clemons Senior Center (955 Jackson Ave. N., 32220)
- Mandarin Senior Center (3848 Hartley Road, 32257)
“Public, charter school and private schools students have the opportunity for faster COVID-19 testing when needed,” Curry said.
The express lanes opened Monday at 11 a.m. They will operate Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
In order to get into one of the express lanes, students will need to bring their school ID and a parent or guardian with them.
They’ll also need to bring a verification letter from their school stating that they need to get tested.
Curry said, “The schools will make the decision whether or not a student needs to be sent to one of these testing sites.” Parents will need to agree.
On August 19, a day before school started, Curry and Duval County Public Schools Superintendent Diana Greene announced a partnership between the school district and the city to make similar express testing available to all school employees.
“I looked at our testing sites and our availability and recognized that we have the ability, with resources we have now, to provide this opportunity for students should they need it,” Curry said.
Curry said the test results at city-run sites usually take around two days.
The current number of students or school personnel who have tested positive for COVID-19 is unknown in Duval County or anywhere in the state, after the Florida Department of Health told districts to stop sharing the information three days into the new school year.
Before the information was barred, the district had reported at 24 school-related COVID-19 cases, according to WJCT News partner The Florida Times-Union
Curry said he would like to see that information released, although he doesn’t want to imply that the state is intentionally withholding information.
“I will say, as a parent, that I personally, yes, would want to know if there are positives in the schools that my kids are at,” Curry said. “Was there exposure? So, to the extent that we can have transparency as parents and access to numbers, I would expect that.”
A spokesperson for DCPS also said Monday morning that more than 5,100 students are still not reporting to school, either virtually or in person.
“Find a way to get your kid back,” Curry said. “If you're not comfortable with brick and mortar, take the virtual option. Our young people in our city need exposure to learning.”
DCPS High School Region Superintendent Scott Schneider told WJCT News Friday that beginning Monday, principals will begin identifying middle- and high-school students who don’t have access to a computer when they are home, so they can get recorded lessons out to them and ultimately supply them with a laptop.
Sky Lebron can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter at @SkylerLebron.