Santa Fe Public Schools students and staff members experiencing COVID-19 symptoms can get free testing starting Monday at Aspen Community Magnet School.

Unvaccinated staff members subject to mandatory weekly testing and students taking part in voluntary weekly testing can complete the tests on Mondays at a drive-thru site at the technology department warehouse.

The warehouse site also is open to students and staff who suspect they have COVID-19 despite showing no symptoms.

The testing will not be offered during winter or spring break.

For the district to host testing sites, administrators had to apply for a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act waiver with the New Mexico Department of Health. That waiver was approved in late September.

Staff from Premier Medical Group will perform the polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, tests at both sites. The PCR test samples genetic material as opposed to proteins, as rapid tests do. It is the only variety approved by the Public Education Department, and results can take two or three days.

The news came during a week in which the district announced 17 more positive cases among staff and students, including some that might have originated at school.

On Tuesday, the district said a Salazar Elementary School student who tested positive on Sept. 20 likely contracted the virus at school.

It’s unclear if a student at Capital High School who tested positive on Sept. 24 also might have contracted the virus on campus.

Single positive cases also were identified at Chaparral and Cesar Chavez elementaries and Ortiz Middle School, as well as three at Ramirez Thomas Elementary School. None were shown to have originated at school.

On Thursday, the district said six more students and three staff members tested positive: two students at Chaparral Elementary, one student and a staff member at Capital High, a student at Atalaya Elementary and a staff member at César Chávez Elementary.

The district stated Thursday that two students and one staff member at Ramirez Thomas Elementary likely contracted the virus at school.

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