COVID rapid testing pilot program announced for schools
Governor Greg Abbott, the Texas Education Agency (TEA), and the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) announced on Thursday the creation of a COVID-19 Rapid Testing Pilot Program for Texas school systems.
This program will help schools conduct rapid tests of district employees and students — with the written permission of their parents — to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on campuses. Through this pilot program, TDEM will provide participating school systems with COVID-19 rapid antigen tests that will be administered to students, teachers, and staff who choose to participate. Schools enrolled in the program will also receive personal protective equipment (PPE) to safely administer the rapid tests, which produce reliable results within 15 minutes.
The launch of the pilot program will include eight participating school systems with plans to significantly ramp up the program across the state. Texas public and private schools interested in applying for the testing program will be able to apply through the Texas Education Agency no later than Wednesday, October 28.
"As more students return to campus for in-person instruction, the State of Texas is working alongside school officials to provide resources to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 among students and staff," said Governor Abbott. "Thank you to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for providing these advanced antigen tests to the State of Texas. This rapid testing pilot program will be an effective strategy to protect the health and safety of students and staff while helping to further ensure that Texas students have access to a quality education throughout the pandemic and beyond."
Participating school systems include:
Bob Hope School (Port Arthur)
Grace Community School (Tyler)
Harlingen Consolidated ISD