SAUK RAPIDS -- Soon there will be an on-site COVID testing coordinator working in the Sauk Rapids-Rice school district.

Superintendent Brad Bergstrom says the testing program will be available to just the staff in all six of their buildings.

So this testing coordinator will be working with the setup in each of the buildings. So when we do testing, we're hoping to do that weekly, their job will be to make sure that we have the supplies, collect samples, and send them off.

Bergstrom says they are optimistic they can have the internal testing program in place by Monday, November 29th. He says they received some COVID testing money from the state to help pay for the program.

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The Sauk Rapids-Rice school district has approved 10 days of paid COVID-19 leave for all of its staff that meet certain criteria.

Bergstrom says there are two main requirements.

You have to be fully vaccinated as defined by the CDC unless there is a medical exemption.  And, number two, you have to agree to test weekly.  That's part of the reason why we want to get our testing program up and running internally by the 28th.  Again, that's just for staff.

Bergstrom says the 10 days of paid leave is retroactive to the start of this school year and it runs through the end of this school year.

Bergstrom says Sauk Rapids-Rice posts weekly COVID data on its website.

He says while there has been an uptick in cases again recently they do not believe they have any reason to move into distance learning. Masks are also not required in the school district right now but are strongly recommended. He says in their 'COVID stages' document they'd have to move into stage 3 before they'd require masks and they are currently still in stage 1.

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