The planned startup of COVID-19 testing in Evanston/Skokie School District 65 has been delayed for at least a week.

The district expected to begin testing for students and staff today. However, in a website message to the community, Superintendent Devon Horton says because the state is covering the cost, “this undoubtedly increased demand and the need for additional resources to ensure the [testing] company could accommodate the influx of requests.”

Horton says the district itself is ready. He anticipates the delay will be minimal and testing should start during the week of Sept. 20.

Student COVID testing is voluntary, however, students will be included in the program unless their family specifically opts out.

COVID vaccinations are required for staff members unless they receive a religious or medical exemption. However, those unvaccinated employees will then have to be tested throughout the school year.

Superintendent Horton says “at this time, there is no evidence of COVID-19 spread between any students or staff members” in District 65.

The district’s dashboard shows that 19 students and one employee have contracted COVID since school began last month, however, based on Horton’s statement, those cases all developed outside of school.

The superintendent says students and staff have done “a tremendous job of following health and safety guidelines,” but continued vigilance is required due to the ongoing COVID pandemic.

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