Woodland school district offering free COVID-19 tests, vaccines after Thanksgiving

  • Rapid saliva tests will be available for free to Gurnee-area students and community members during an event Monday hosted by Woodland Elementary School District 50.

    Rapid saliva tests will be available for free to Gurnee-area students and community members during an event Monday hosted by Woodland Elementary School District 50. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer, January 2021

 
 
Updated 11/24/2021 4:59 PM

Citing a recent rise in community COVID-19 cases, Gurnee-based Woodland Elementary School District 50 is hosting a free testing event for the community on Monday and a free vaccination clinic for children starting Tuesday.

According to the Lake County Health Department, COVID-19 community transmission in Lake County is at 198.1 cases per 100,000 residents, which is considered high. Last week, 35 students tested positive for COVID-19 through the district's optional testing program for staff and students.

 

Superintendent Lori Casey said the district planned the special community testing and child vaccination events as a way to make a positive difference in the community. Casey said district officials have learned through contact tracing conducted by public health officials that many times COVID-19 is spread to students when they are out of school during family functions or playdates.

"So many times the students are asymptomatic," Casey said. "Parents are usually shocked when they hear their child has tested positive."

SHIELD, an initiative created by the University of Illinois, is prepared to administer 1,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine at clinics Tuesday and Wednesday at Woodland Elementary School, 17371 W. Gages Lake Road in Grayslake, for children age 5 though 11. Casey said appointments are going quickly and can be made at dist50.net.

The testing event will run from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Monday at Woodland Middle School, 7000 W. Washington St. in Gurnee. The test is saliva-based, and those interested are asked not to eat, drink, smoke or chew anything 30 minutes before their test. No appointment is needed to receive a free test, but participants must register online.

Casey said the school district is still enforcing the use of face masks and other strategies to mitigate the spread of the virus while students are at school. While it hasn't been easy, she said she is proud of the community for working hard to keep students healthy and in school.

"This is the whole community coming together"

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