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La. schools offer money to students, staff for COVID testing

Amid the emergence of the omicron COVID variant, some Baton Rouge area public schools are paying students and staff to receive regular tests.
Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 10:40 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Amid the emergence of the omicron COVID variant, some Baton Rouge area public schools are paying students and staff to receive regular tests.

The cash incentive is in collaboration with a program funded by the Louisiana Department of Health. The program pays students and staff $25 for taking an initial COVID test on-site and $10 for each test after. Participating schools like Cristo Rey High School give out their tests every Thursday. Each payment is placed on a virtual e-card.

“The incentive of being able to come in every Thursday, get swabbed for COVID, walk away with money, it’s priceless,” said Rosalyn Scott, Director of Operations at Cristo Rey High School.

School President Eric Engemann says someone can make close to $400 if they get tested every week. He says they’ve administered over 1000 tests to around 190 people on their campus.

“It was just something we wanted to be involved with to give some peace of mind on a week-to-week basis,” said Engemann.

Engemann said this program gives parents peace of mind and can even be used as a valuable option if they don’t feel comfortable getting their kids vaccinated.

“Safety is super important to us in all of our campus, and it was just a no-brainer for us to be involved,” said Engemann.

School officials say this goes beyond the cash incentive; it’s about keeping everyone on their campus safe.

“Not just for the incentives, but just to save lives and for the families know that we care beyond the education, we care about the student’s wellness,” said Scott.

Cristo Rey officials say since they began giving out the tests at the start of the semester, they’ve had zero positive COVID results.

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