Archived News

Jackson schools offers onsite COVID testing

Jackson schools offers onsite COVID testing

Students and staff in Jackson County Public Schools will soon have a convenient option for free COVID-19 testing right in their own school. The minimally invasive tests from Concentric by Ginkgo will be conducted weekly for individuals who choose to participate in the program.

To save time, the district will use a system known as “pool testing.” It’s a strategy approved by the state that is gaining popularity across the country because of the low cost and relatively quick results. 

“This is an opportunity for us to keep our students in school and also test them while they’re at school,” Superintendent Dr. Dana Ayers said. “An entire class can be screened within 10 to 15 minutes.”

Each pool will include up to 25 individuals in a class, pod or cohort who will swab their own nose and place the swabs into a single tube.  The samples in the tube will then be tested as a single sample using one test.

If a pool returns a positive result for COVID-19, the school can begin immediate contact tracing and test individual students and staff members rather than quarantining large groups or closing entire school buildings. 

Participants in the program will be happy to know that the test only requires a swab of the lower nose rather than the deep nasal swab that is common with other tests.

“It’s not invasive at all,” Ayers said. “In fact, students will do their own test.”

Consent forms will be available in early October.  Families can learn more about the testing process at

Leave a comment

Smokey Mountain News Logo
Go to top
Payment Information


At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.