HOPEWELL, Va. -- Hopewell City Public Schools is giving students the option to get COVID tested Thursday evening as part of an effort to slow down the spread of the virus in their classrooms.
"I think it's probably a good idea, just knowing that they could be asymptomatic and still have COVID and potentially be exposing our class or classmates and not even know it," Lisa Wise, a parent, said. "So if that's something that can help keep them safe and keep them being able to go to school and be with their friends, then I'm all for it."
School leaders in Hopewell said the testing event will be at Hopewell High School from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., and will be for Hopewell students only. Students under the age of 18 must have a parent present.
The length of Thursday evening's event made it easier for parents like Daniel Martinez to bring their kids after work.
"I'm happy that they're doing this because if one of my girls were to have it, I wouldn't want them going to school and getting more kids infected," Martinez said.
The move by the district comes as Hopewell reports 94 positive cases so far this year in schools, according to their COVID-19 dashboard.
The school board recently voted to mandate all teachers and staff get vaccinated before Oct. 4, or get tested weekly for COVID-19.
Just last week, the school district held an optional COVID testing clinic for staff and teachers, in which over 300 staff members and teachers were tested, resulting in five positive cases.
"It's tough. But we're strong. And we do a great job as teamwork. And everybody's pulling together more than ever before, to make this happen and make this work for families and students," Brookie Fowler, Supervisor for Special Education Compliance for Hopewell Public Schools, said.
Fowler said she participated in the COVID testing event and has been vaccinated -- all in an effort to protect the students she works with.
“I work with some of your, some of our, most vulnerable population with special education," Fowler said. "And a lot of our students have significant health and physical concerns. And if they were to, you know, get sick, it could be life-threatening for them.”
“I stay hopeful that our division is going to readjust as needed. We're going to pivot when we need to. And we're going to constantly take the voice of the community of the school division of the staff have the kids of the parents and make informed decisions to take care of everyone," Fowler added.
The school district said the testing event results should come back in two to three days.
Students are still allowed to go to school while they wait for results, unless they show symptoms, according to school officials.