Free COVID-19 testing available for all Shelby County teachers and staff

WATCH: Free COVID-19 testing available for all Shelby County teachers and staff

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — Free COVID-19 testing is available for all Shelby County teachers and staff this fall.

So far, at least 1,000 teachers have already committed to the week-long initiative called ‘Test to Protect.’

The Memphis Shelby County Education Association represents more than 4,000 teachers and chose to cover those who opt for testing. It is partnering with the Shelby County Health Department and the City of Memphis.

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CLICK HERE to see the ‘Return To School Plans’ for each district in the Mid-South

Flossy Brown, a health science teacher at Kingsbury Vocational spoke with FOX13.

“I want to know what my status is,” said Brown. “I have had the test once before and that was negative but that was back in March. I just wanted to do it again so I can have a baseline.”

Brown pre-registered for testing last week and revealed she had some reservations about going back to the classroom before SCS decided it would go fully virtual this fall semester.

“I was really concerned that if we re-opened the schools the numbers would just skyrocket. They’re already skyrocketing and we haven’t opened the schools because there are still so many people who don’t practice safety,” said Brown.

Even though kids won’t be physically present in the classroom, English teacher Dekaries Dawson said it’s still important for teachers to protect themselves operating from the school facilities.

"Definitely take advantage of free testing just to be safe and cautious because you still have to work around your fellow colleagues in case you decide to work in school," said Dawson.

Since testing is voluntary, Dawson said he will continue to get tested for COVID-19 regularly and set a good example for students.

“I want them to know we are all in this together. I am not just telling you to do it, I have to do it myself. We are trying to stay safe and you still have to make sure you are getting the quality education you deserve in the midst of what is going on,” said Dawson.