BRADENTON, Fla. (WWSB) -Schools are getting ready to re-open in Manatee County this Monday, August 17th, and the school board just approved encouraging staff members to get tested for COVID-19 antibodies.
School board member and epidemiologist Dr. Scott Hopes say antibody testing is the most cost effective and accurate option for the answers they’re looking for. He and other board members agree that it’s good to know the status of COVID exposure in the school district.
"At least on that date we will know kind of where we stand in terms of whether we're going to be a problem for the kids coming to us or not," said School board member Rev. James Golden.
The districts communication team says with schools re-opening next week,the district is trying to get information together to send to all their employees on where they can get the tests done.
"It will give all of our employees, especially our classroom educators and our bus drivers, if they should test positive for the antibody some level of comfort that they've already had COVID-19. There are very very few cases of re-infection in the United States that have been documented,"
School board members say employees won't have to fit the bill for the antibody testing.
"For our employees that are covered in the health plan, the cost will be covered at 100%. For any of our employees that are uninsured the federal government has a program through HERSA-- one of the federal agencies-- to reimburse the laboratories for conducting the tests,"
But the district communications director sent an email to ABC7 on Wednesday afternoon, stating they can’t mandate their employees to get tested or share their test results. Doctor Hopes says the aim is to provide this testing throughout the year to measure where the district stands.