Winnipeg School Division to use school gyms as COVID-19 testing sites for unvaccinated employees

Winnipeg School Division to use two high schools as COVID-19 testing sites (Source: Winnipeg School Division)

The Winnipeg School Division has confirmed it will be using two high school gymnasiums as COVID-19 testing sites for unvaccinated employees.

Radean Carter, a senior information officer with the division, said the senior gymnasiums at Tec Voc High School and Grant Park High School will be used during the evenings and on Saturdays for testing.

A release posted to the division’s website states the sites will be cleaned and fogged daily following the testing.

The division said these locations were chosen because employees do not have to walk through the school to get tested.

The testing comes as new health orders go into effect Monday that require all employees to either show proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test completed within 48 hours.

Tests are to be done three times a week, with one of the tests observed by a neutral third party. The school division said it has hired a contract health care service to observe that test.

According to the release, any staff member who chooses to take the weekly testing can show full vaccination proof at any time and will nolongerbe required to take any additional testing.

The chosen testing sites are not sitting well for some Winnipeggers, with an online petition now circulating against the plan to use the schools as testing sites.

The petition questions a lack of consultation with the community and safety concerns for students, staff and families. Another concern is possible disruptions to school athletic programs due to the gymnasiums being used for COVID-19 testing.

Carter said the school gyms can still be used for regular classes and morning or noon practices.