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Baltimore City Schools to begin COVID-19 testing for everyone in schools

Regular testing of all students and staff in Baltimore City schools will begin in March as a way to cut down on the spread of the coronavirus in buildings open for instruction.

Schools chief Sonja Santelises said at a school board meeting Tuesday evening that the new testing would be both saliva and so-called pool tests. Pool tests require nasal swabs of a class of students and a teacher to be combined to determine whether the virus is present in the classroom. Santelises said both tests would be a type that is considered the gold standard for coronavirus testing.

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“Frequent testing is an important part of our ongoing health and safety protocols,” she said.

More details of the testing program will be announced in the next few weeks.

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Currently, about 5,000 staff and teachers have been asked whether they would like to get a vaccine through the city school system, and 2,200 have either been vaccinated or have an appointment.

An additional 1,100 staff members will be surveyed for their interest in getting a vaccine, Santelises said.

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