School-Based COVID Testing

Sign Up for FREE School-Based COVID Testing Programs — Registration Remains Open

Revised February 28, 2022

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Opportunity to Participate in Free In-School COVID-19 Screening TestingCharlottesville City Schools is pleased to partner with the state to offer three, free, in-school COVID testing programs:

  • Weekly proactive PCR testing for symptom-free students and staff at school. One-time permission is required.  Find schedule and more information here.
  • Diagnostic rapid testing (when symptoms appear at school or following exposure). Before testing a child, we will notify the family and confirm permission. Learn more here.
  • Test to Stay, a safe alternative to quarantine for unvaccinated students and staff. This involves a series of daily rapid tests. Again, before enrolling a family in Test to Stay, we would notify the family, confirm permission, and supply additional information (and tests). Learn more here.

You can enroll in any or all of these testing programs with the same permission form.

We will add new registrants to the screening program as soon as possible, typically one week after registration.

Want to re-enroll? Complete the form again.

Sign Up Here!

Want your child to stop testing?

Unenroll Here

More Information

  • To learn more, scroll down to read our Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Registration for these three programs is ongoing. It typically takes one week’s processing time before the screening testing begins (we close registration at noon on Thursdays for the following week).
  • Click to see weekly testing schedule.
  • These programs are opt-in, per state guidelines. All programs except the staff Test to Stay programs are state-sponsored.
  • Thanks to our partners on this project, the Virginia Department of Education and the Virginia Department of Health. And thanks to our other partners – our students, families, and staff!

Sign Up Here!

illustration of linguistic charactersTranslation Traducción ترجمة Tafsiri अनुवाद ترجمه

Translators and interpreters are available. Our web site and the sign-up form can be translated with Google. Call or email your school for help. You can also text 434-953-1802.

Si tiene preguntas acerca de las escuelas de Charlottesville, llame a nuestra línea telefónica en español al 434-245-2548. Un profesor de español le devolverá la llamada. 

Frequently Asked Questions


How do I sign up?

Complete this form. We hope everyone – vaccinated and unvaccinated people — will sign up for screening testing, but we will only test those staff and students who complete the consent form, per state guidelines. Need a paper copy of the permission form? Contact or visit your school. The form allows you to sign up for the regularly scheduled screening testing and/or the diagnostic testing in case of symptoms/exposure (as well as the Test to Stay program). The same form allows sign-ups for any and all.

Do the tests hurt?

This is a shallow swab, not the deep nasal swab. One state employee noted, “The swab is less invasive than a child picking their nose.” (And this is the only time you will see the phrase “picking their nose” in a Cville Schools publication, we hope.)

More about Weekly Screening Testing, including Schedule

How does screening testing work, generally speaking?

Our partners, Next Molecular, will visit each school at the same time each week (see schedule, below). Schools will send participants to the vendors to have a shallow nose swab. Results should be reported to families (and the health department) within 24-48 hours. Younger students are tested weekly; CHS students and staff simply stop by to get tested during the weeks that they wish.  Because this testing is conducted on symptom-free people, they can continue attending school while waiting on results (unless they develop symptoms).

Can I learn more about how screening testing works?

Vendors provided by the Virginia Department of Health will conduct individual PCR testing during school hours on a set schedule. Our vendor, Next Molecular,  will provide trained staff to swab the front of the student’s nose. This is a non-invasive shallow swab.  Younger students will be tested weekly; CHS students and staff simply stop by to get tested during the weeks that they wish. (Formerly we allowed different frequency of testing for younger students, but due to volume and the fact that most families selected weekly, we now offer weekly only.) One principle of the program is that students or staff can change their mind about being tested, even if they or their family previously gave permission.

Where will testing take place?

Testing will take place at school during regular school hours (see schedule, below). We have established well ventilated testing areas. Screened testing will take place once per week.  Registration will remain open for those who choose to join later.

What’s the weekly schedule?

Our weekly schedule is as follows. Please note that we might revise this schedule as needed:


  • Clark Elementary, 7:30-9:00
  • Jackson-Via Elementary, 9:30-11:00
  • Johnson Elementary, 11:15-12:30
  • Buford Middle School, 1:30-2:45


  • Venable Elementary plus Lugo McGinness Academy, 7:30-9:30
  • Greenbrier Elementary, 10:00-12:00
  • Walker Upper Elementary School, 12:30-2:45


  • Burnley-Moran Elementary, 7:30-10:00
  • Charlottesville High School, 10:30-1:30 (students should stop by testing table in A Commons during lunch)

When will I receive results? Who is notified?

Each time your student is tested, for a negative (no COVID) result, you’ll receive an email within 24-48 hours. If your student tests positive, you’ll get a phone call before the group email goes out.

If a screening test is positive, the result will be reported to the family, the school, the BRHD, and the Virginia Department of Health.

Note: during the first week or so you are tested, you may not receive an email notification for a negative result. Once your registration is completed, you will start receiving these weekly emails.

Can my student remain in school while they wait on their screening test result?

Because this testing is conducted on symptom-free people, they can continue attending school while waiting on results (unless they develop symptoms). If a positive test result comes back while the child is in school, we will contact the family to arrange prompt pick-up.

How is screening testing helpful?

Screening testing is one strategy recommended by the CDC to control the spread of COVID. Screening testing helps us identify symptom-free people who could potentially spread the virus. For some people, proactive testing is also a relief, a periodic check to know that you or your child doesn’t have COVID. Remember, screening testing is only one strategy — we will continue to mask, require daily screening for symptoms/risk factors, keep our upgraded ventilation systems in good working order, follow protocols, and more.

How often does a student or staff member get tested?

Younger students get tested once a week. CHS students and staff get tested when they want.  Participants can always decline a test.

More about Diagnostic Rapid Testing

What about diagnostic testing?

In addition to screening testing, we are partnering with the state to offer free diagnostic testing for people who start showing symptoms at school or for vaccinated people who have been exposed.

The COVID testing permission form gives the option of agreeing to either the screening or the diagnostic testing programs. Both programs are funded by a partnership with the Virginia Departments of Health and Education.

What about diagnostic testing for people who start symptoms at school?

Free diagnostic testing may be offered to those who develop symptoms during the school day. Family permission would be verified prior to testing. Depending on program guidelines, we would offer either the 15-minute rapid antigen test called BinaxNOW or a mail-in PCR kit called “Let’s Get Checked,” both of which also use a shallow nasal swab. While the BinaxNOW test is fast and useful, it is not as accurate as a PCR test, and symptomatic people testing negative on the rapid test should still follow up with a healthcare provider for guidance.

Remember, if your student feels ill or has symptoms of COVID-19 prior to the school day, keep your student home and check with a healthcare provider. When a sick child goes to school, this puts others in our school community at risk.

What if my child tests negative on the school’s rapid test?

If your child was tested because they developed COVID symptoms at school, we will still ask you to follow up with your healthcare provider if the result is negative. In other words, the rapid test can quickly tell you if your child is positive. But per VDH guidance, if your symptomatic child got a negative rapid test, you should follow up with your healthcare provider and/or get a PCR test.

What about diagnostic testing for people who have been exposed?

Free diagnostic testing may be offered to vaccinated people who have been exposed 5-7 days after exposure, per CDC guidelines. If (asymptomatic, fully vaccinated) students and staff are in school following exposure, they can be PCR tested during our weekly screening testing program.

More about Test to Stay


Test to Stay for Unvaccinated Students

Working with the state, we are now offering Test to Stay (TTS) for unvaccinated students if they have been exposed to COVID at school or in the community. TTS has been used around the US and the world as a safe alternative to quarantine. In TTS, an exposed student will take a COVID-19 rapid test for up to 6 school days after the exposure. Each morning, if the test is negative and the child has no symptoms, they are allowed to attend school. They must also wear a mask and remain without symptoms for 10 days after the exposure. The test kits, which are proctored online, are provided free of charge. 

If the child is in school when they are identified as a close contact, school staff will complete the first rapid test at school, creating the family’s telehealth portal account. For the next five school days, before leaving for school, families will log into the telehealth portal so that the test can be proctored and the results can be reported to the school. In some cases, schools can do the daily testing in the morning.

If at any point, the student develops COVID symptoms, they should begin isolating immediately and if a rapid test is negative, they should seek out a PCR test.

If the student and family do not follow the TTS protocols of testing, screening for symptoms, and masking, the student will need to complete the remaining days of the quarantine period at home.

Students who live with a household member who has COVID are not eligible for TTS because of the ongoing exposure of living with a family member who has COVID.


Test to Stay for Unvaccinated Staff

Mirroring the state’s TTS program for students, Charlottesville City Schools is offering TTS for staff. Like the student program, if an unvaccinated or not-up-to-date staff member is exposed but symptom-free, they can take a free rapid test each morning for 6 school days to stay at school. (In case of home exposure, the staff member will need to test for 10 school days.)

As with students, if at any point the staff member develops COVID symptoms, they should begin isolating immediately, and if the rapid test is negative, they should seek out a PCR test.

If an exposed staff member is caring for a dependent with COVID, the patient’s 10-day isolation period is covered by COVID leave. If symptom-free, the staff member is eligible for TTS after the dependent’s 10-day isolation. 

If a staff member is eligible for TTS but chooses to quarantine instead, the 10-day quarantine period will be covered by the staff member’s sick leave. If the staff member does not follow the TTS protocols of testing, screening for symptoms, and masking, the staff member will need to complete the remaining days of the quarantine period at home using sick (not COVID) leave.

A final word

The information in this guide is subject to change based on emerging best practices, the capacity of our vendor, or guidance from local, state, and national medical experts.

Sign Up Here!