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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As more children return to school for full-time classroom education, there’s an increase in testing students for COVID-19 to make sure they’re safe.

Children’s Mercy Hospital is setting up drive-thru testing to meet those needs. Drive-thru testing is now available at all of the hospital’s clinics, where parents no longer need a physician’s referral to get a test.

Testing is available for children as young as two months all the way up to 22 years, although parents of the youngest children still should seek a doctor’s referral. The hospital requires an appointment, and parents must fill out a COVID testing form, available at: childrensmercy.org

Scheduling an appointment should be done at least five days after any potential exposure to the virus.

“We are seeing a lot of children being tested because now they are trying to get back into school and stay there,” Staci Hayes, education coordinator at Children’s Mercy Northland, said. “We are seeing that more often. And especially now that we are into the spring session of school, we are seeing that a little bit more.”

The hospital will schedule tests for parents at any of Children’s Mercy’s three urgent care locations or at the Broadway clinic. Parents and children should remain in their vehicles for the test, and the hospital promises results within 24 to 72 hours.

Tests often are needed not only for a return to school, but also for kids playing sports, or for young children returning to a child care center.