A COVID quick-test device. (Shutterstock)

With positive new COVID cases down to single digits among students, Evanston Township High School is cutting in-school coronavirus SHIELD testing from once a week to every other week.

In a website message, ETHS says “While the pandemic is not over, the decline of COVID cases at the high school and in the community, along with lower transmission rates, support a timeline for transition.”

The message notes that 94% of ETHS students have submitted proof of vaccination, as have 95% of the school’s employees. It also states that the overall COVID positivity rate, for students and staff, is less than one-half-of-one percent.

The reduction in testing comes as the school’s indoor mask mandate is being lifted, although ETHS will continue to strongy recommend that masks be worn in the building.

The high school will also continue other COVID mitigation practices, such as “daily cleaning/sanitizing, maximizing air exchange, maintaining off-campus lunch for all students, contact tracing, and limiting capacity at events/performances.”

The switch to COVID testing every other week begins February 28. However, ETHS also says that weekly testing will still be available for “all students and staff who wish to drop in.”

School officials continue to point out that the COVID situation remains in flux, with updates expected soon from various government health agencies.

Next steps, the school says, will be considered as those updates come out.

“ETHS is prepared to make a safe transition,” school leaders note, “as strategies evolve. We will continue to take a cautious and measured approach.”

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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