DES MOINES, Iowa — Day one of the Des Moines Public Schools’ two drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites couldn’t have come any sooner for Kelcee Murphy.
“We got a notification about an exposure in the classroom,” said Murphy. The notification came from DMPS at 1:30 p.m. Monday and by 4 p.m. in the NW Aquatics parking lot by Hoover High School both of her daughters were tested. Murphy said, “It went very smoothly. I was able to register on my phone in a matter of minutes and got a confirmation and a code and it was very smooth.”
It is that quick turnaround with the help of Nomi, which helped operate the Test Iowa sites, that allows the district to not tie up valuable hospital emergency room resources. “What we were finding is building nurses would refer students to get tested and it would be a few days before they could get in for their appointment,” said Melissa Abbott, the DMPS Health Service Supervisor.
While scheduling an appointment online and in advance is strongly recommended, you can register on site. Just a quick QR code scan or paper sign-up sheet and you are ready to get tested. Abbott said, “We have a priority lane for students, families and staff and a lane open for community members as well.”
Shania Hobbs is a high school student at Lincoln. She is waiting on her second dose of the vaccine and needed some reassurance. “I have a runny nose so I kind of thought I was having symptoms and wanted to get tested. You never know what a runny nose can lead to,” said Hobbs.
The PCR tests at both the Hoover and Kurtz Opportunity Center sites can produce results in 48 hours. Their rapid tests produce results in just 2 hours. Until Monday, staff and students were waiting 7-10 days for test results elsewhere. “Which means students are out of the building that much longer. Staff are out longer and we really need students and staff in the building,” Abbot said.
All are hoping to flatten the curve but raise an obstacle out of the way that may hinder performance in the classroom. “We are protecting our community and keeping rates low and doing the right thing but also minimizing absences in the classroom as well,”said Murphy.
The testing sites will be open Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Anyone who wishes to take a COVID-19 test at the Des Moines Public Schools sites needs to register in advance. You can do so by clicking this link.
Des Moines Public Schools students and staff members should bring their school ID along to the testing sites.