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New program providing school districts with COVID-19 tests

Right now eight school districts are participating in the pilot program.
Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 6:04 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) -The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has teamed up with the state to create a COVID-19 Rapid Testing Pilot Program.

To start, eight districts across the state have been given rapid tests by The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM). The districts are responsible for administrating the test to staff and students.

Caldwell ISD Superintendent Andrew Peters says they’re waiting on more guidance from TEA to come later this month.

“The commissioner talked to all the superintendents yesterday and said that as they fine-tune the program they will be communicating with us how individual districts can sign up,” said Peters.

Peters says for rural districts like his, it’s a great opportunity.

“The problem that we have is our resources are limited,” said Peters “If we can have it here and people don’t have to leave town it’s going to make a blessing for our people.”

Bigger districts like Bryan ISD say the resources aren’t as scarce in Bryan but they’ll wait for additional information before making a decision.

“We want to wait and see what TEA’s guidelines will be for being a part of this program and those are unknown right now because they are in the pilot phase, so those guidelines would be developed after the pilot phase is completed,” said Matthew LeBlanc BISD Executive Director of Communications.

Both districts say school nurses, principals, and board members will discuss the program but parent feedback will be vital.

“If we were going to move forward with an expansion of testing like this, where right now the burden is on the parent to go and get the students tested then it’s a conversation we’d have to have with parents,” said LeBlanc.

No test will be given to students through the program without a parent’s written consent.

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