Do you have questions about the free COVID-19 Testing Program for Chatham County Schools?

  • Do you have questions about the free COVID-19 Testing Program for Chatham County Schools? 
    Below are answers to questions you may have.   

    General Information 

    What is the COVID-19 Testing Program?
    Chatham County Schools COVID-19 Testing Program offers free, regular testing to students and staff for COVID-19. Regular testing means that testing is offered to everyone on a regular basis, even if they don’t have symptoms of COVID-19.  

    Why is our district testing for COVID-19?
    Regular testing is a safe, effective way to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and help keep our schools open for in-person learning. Many people with COVID-19, especially children and teens, don’t have symptoms but can still spread the virus, so regular testing helps find infections before they can spread to others. This is especially important for children under 12 years old who are not yet able to get vaccinated against COVID-19, families, and staff with younger children at home, and others who are not vaccinated or are otherwise at risk for getting seriously sick from COVID-19. Regular testing will help us keep students in the classroom and allow students to take part in the other activities they love. 

    Does my child have to get tested to attend school in person?
    No, COVID-19 tests are optional, although strongly encouraged. Students will not be tested without both the student and guardian giving their consent.

    How will the school protect my child’s privacy?
    Testing results will be shared only for public health purposes, which may include notifying close contacts that they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and taking other steps to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in your school community. Information sharing and notifying contacts will be done in a way that protects your child’s privacy. Sharing of information about your child will only be done in accordance with applicable law and policies protecting student privacy and the security of your child’s data.

    How the Program Works 

    How will the testing be done? 
    The COVID-19 tests will be free, quick, and easy. We will use a viral test, known as a nucleic acid amplification (NAAT) test that is conducted by a lab and takes about 48 hours to get results back. This test will tell if your child has a current COVID-19 infection, regardless of whether they have symptoms.

    How is the test given?
    The test will involve a nasal swab. It is a quick and easy test. This nasal test gently swabs the inner part of the lower nostril. The test is not painful. We do not use the longer swabs that reach higher into the nose. 

    When will the test be given? 
    Chatham County Schools will conduct weekly testing at each school. 

    Who will conduct the test?
    We are participating in the NC Strong Schools COVID-19 Testing program will be conducted by Raleigh Based MAKO Medical.  To learn more please visit StrongSchoolsNC COVID-19 testing and

    How much does the test cost?
    The COVID-19 tests will be free to students and staff. You will never receive a bill, and your insurance will not be charged. 

    How frequently will my child be tested?
    Our regular testing will take place every week. 

    Will my child miss class to get tested?
    No, testing shouldn’t interfere with your child’s school schedule. The test is quick and easy, and students will be able to fit the test into their day without disrupting learning.


    When will we know the results of the test?
    The results of the test should be available within 48 hours.

    What if my child tests positive?
    We will ask you to keep your child home. You will be asked to provide information about your child’s close contacts so that everyone who has been exposed can be notified. We will be in touch to discuss medical care and other support for your child and family. 

    What if someone in my child’s school tests positive?
    If your child was exposed to someone who has COVID-19, we will be in touch to discuss what actions to take. A COVID-19 test will tell us what further preventive actions are needed.