At the end of February, Madison School District suddenly suspended its contract with COVID Clinic, a vendor that was conducting on-site COVID-19 testing at dozens of school locations.
Madison School District Stops School-Based COVID-19 Test Service | Local Education
Nicky Vander Murren, a member of the Madison Board of Education, said the board was told by District Chief of Staff Richard McGregory to switch vendors for no apparent reason.
District spokesman Tim Le Monds said the suspension of test services on the school’s site was in response to the transition to a new vendor.
LeMonds said the decision to switch test vendors was not made by the district because the vendor was selected and contracted “alone” by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. He didn’t say when school-based testing would resume when asked.
The State Health Department also confirmed that the district had stopped testing services through the COVID Clinic, and as of Thursday, the State Health Department was still collecting information on the decision.
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“We are aware that (Madison School District) will be discontinuing service at the COVID Clinic and we are collecting information about the situation,” said Elizabeth Goodsit, a DHS spokesman. “Testing remains an important tool in efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, and it is important to maintain the quality and integrity of testing activities across the state.”
Michelle Trehei, who was hired by the COVID Clinic in early February to conduct a test at Wright Middle School, said she and her colleagues were at a loss for a vendor contract with the district on February 24. Said that he was told by the supervisor of.
“We were just told not to come to work the next day, not to show up, and not to ask any questions,” she said. On March 1, the COVID Clinic informed employees that the school district had terminated the contract with the vendor.
“If there were 50 schools with COVID clinic sites and there were 4 people on each site, all the crew would suddenly lose their jobs,” Trehey said. “We have signed a contract that was supposed to last until December 2022. It’s very nervous.”
“It’s a big financial blow. Spending a lot of time and effort on a position is a big blow. I was in a great school. I was very much looking forward to building relationships with the great staff at the school.” She said.
COVID Clinic, a California company hired as part of a state program to provide COVID-19 testing at a school in Wisconsin, experienced and hired a bumpy deployment of testing services throughout the state in September. Some of the people said they were hired for work, it didn’t exist, and the company blamed employment pressure and state computer malfunctions.
As of September, the Department of Health Services has allocated approximately 40 school districts across the state to receive test services from the Huntington Beach-based COVID Clinic. The company told the Wisconsin Journal in September that it offers rapid antigen testing and lab-based PCR testing five days a week in 26 school districts, including Madison.
The state-wide program was free for school families, students, and staff, and was funded by the federal government. Districts opt-in to the program have been assigned by DHS to one of 10 providers. Wisconsin has 421 public school districts, but private and independent charter schools are also covered.
The COVID Clinic said it signed a contract with the state in August and began rolling out the service in the last week of the month. Due to the shortened timeline and challenges specific to setting up new programs across the state, at least four of the districts assigned to COVID clinics have resigned from the company and some of the 80 hires in Wisconsin have resigned. I realized that I don’t have a school.
This story will be updated.
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