Students will be able to get a rapid COVID-19 test at 18 Fairbanks schools in starting in March.
The Fairbanks North Star Borough School District received rapid molecular tests from the state, and school nurses will be able to administer the tests to students showing COVID-19 symptoms during the school day. After getting a test, a student will need to go home for the remainder of the day but may be able to return as soon as the next school day if they test negative and their symptoms are resolving, according to a release from the school district.
Parents and guardians will need to give permission via email for student rapid testing, the release stated. The number of tests in Fairbanks schools is limited.
Schools offering the tests include Anne Wien Elementary, Ben Eielson Jr./Sr. High, Ladd Elementary, North Pole Elementary, North Pole Middle, Randy Smith Middle, Salcha Elementary, University Park Elementary and West Valley High. The schools with limited test availability are Anderson Elementary, Crawford Elementary, Hunter Elementary, Hutchison High, Lathrop High, Joy Elementary, North Pole High, Tanana Middle and Ryan Middle.
Besides schools, seven Fairbanks locations offer COVID-19 tests. The site that offers it for free is located on the intersection of Johansen Expressway and Hunter Street, behind the Spirit of Alaska Federal Credit Union.
While the state made testing optional for travelers, that remains one of the best methods to monitor and curb the spread of the virus, Anne Zink, the chief medical officer for the state, said during a news conference last week.
The state of vaccinations
Another tool to fight the coronavirus is vaccinations. As of Monday, Fairbanks had more than 380 open appointments for getting a COVID-19 vaccine. To register online, people 50 years and older, various essential workers, teachers and daycare employees can go to covidvax.alaska.gov or myhealth.alaska.gov. They can also call 907-646-3322.
Reported to date, 142,531 people across the state — or almost 20% of all Alaskans — received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
The state of the virus
Meanwhile, the state spread of the COVID-19 virus stays high and often deadly. An Anchorage woman in her 70s died from the virus over the weekend, bringing the number of Alaska deaths to 287.
Over the past three days, 346 new Alaskans contracted the virus, according to the Monday report from the Department of Health and Social Services.
Locally, 32 of the new cases were in Fairbanks, 11 in North Pole and one in the borough. Fairbanks also reported two new non-resident cases.
Among other places with a high number of cases, Anchorage reported 74, Wasilla 65, Palmer 22, Juneau 18 and the Bethel Census Area 16.
Contact staff writer Alena Naiden at 459-7587. Follow her at twitter.com/FDNMlocal.