As mask mandates are lifted, test-to-stay programs help schools, businesses get back to new normal

Posted at 10:25 AM, Mar 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-14 10:25:55-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- As cases of coronavirus continue to decline, more workplaces and school districts are removing their mask policies. Some of those businesses and school districts are now adopting a test-to-stay program.

With the rise of at-home COVID testing comes the possibility of people taking the tests wrong and getting tainted results.

But Proven and First Call PPE, which runs, are working to ensure the tests are done properly.

Thousands of businesses and more than 70 Virginia schools, including Richmond and Henrico County, are using Proven and First Call PPE's 'Test to Stay' program to keep employees at work and kids at school.

Through the program, Proven and First Call distribute hundreds of bilingual test flyers with QR codes, as well as at-home Rapid COVID tests to partner companies and school districts. Then, when a child or employee has COVID symptoms, or when there’s an exposure, they can just scan that QR code and connect with an online proctor.

These proctors have medical experience and will show you how to open the COVID test kit and how to properly take the test, which health officials say leads to less confusion and more accurate results.

"We take the fear out of it," Proven CEO Peter Gallic said. "We take all that worry out of it, so that we know that you're doing it the correct way, and you know that you're doing it the correct way."

Another benefit of the program is that those test results can then be reported to the business or school, which can choose to send that information to VDH to ensure our state’s COVID numbers show a true picture of actual disease spread.

"So many people, they may not have severe symptoms or something and they come in asymptomatic or thinking that's a false positive," said Autumn Pullen, director of operations for First Call, the company that oversees Test Here. "But you have that validation by a proctor on the other side saying no. And, you know, we're gonna make sure that the person overseeing this event, or this program knows the accurate results."

Proven and Test Here also just partnered with Apple Travel to distribute COVID tests to their customers.

"What Apple travel was seeing on their side was that people would go to Mexico, or to another country, and the test would be $400 to get back to the U.S.," JP Robinson, Proven's chief marketing officer, said. "And they said that's not fair to our clients. It's affecting the travel agents, and we need a service. So we created a business for them, where they can take two tests on the road with them, throw in their luggage, and when they come back, before they come, they just proctor from Mexico or wherever."

The test proctors are available every day from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Learn more about Proven and First Call.