SCS to start optional, onsite lead testing for students

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County Schools sent out a new message to parents updating their action plan when it comes to lead exposure.

In a social media post, the school district said it will start onsite testing at the 35 schools where lead was found in the water. Students will be bringing home a consent form after the Thanksgiving break, but the district said the testing is optional.

The district may also be trying to position itself in the event kids do test positive for lead exposure.

Free lead testing is also available at the Shelby County Health Department.

“We are so appreciative of the Shelby County Health Department for making this happen for those parents who may not have transportation to go downtown or to a health clinic," SCS spokesperson Jerica Phillips said.

Last week, the Shelby County Commission approved an additional $80,000 for impacted students and staff to be tested.

"This is very routine for us," said Alisa Haushalter, director of the health department. "It's just become much more public because it's the school system. So we're accustomed to this way of working and trying to get to the customer rather than them coming into us."

SCS took 3,500 samples, and about 60 samples, or about 2%, came back above the EPA threshold.

That lead was found in drinking fountains and faucets. SCS said all contaminated sources have been shut off.

This process should be completed within the next three months.

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