Austin ISD could start COVID-19 rapid testing next week

Education

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Independent School District students and staff could start getting rapid COVID-19 tests as soon as next week, according to the superintendent.

Superintendent Dr. Stephanie Elizalde said the first shipment of the 15-minute rapid tests should arrive early next week. This comes after AISD said it was “at the front of the line” for getting the rapid COVID-19 tests at a board meeting Monday.

Elizalde said AISD was able to become a priority for the tests thanks to planning ahead and a direct discussion with Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath.

“We were the first ones of the urban districts to create a plan to get delivery of those tests, and we may be able to start administering those tests next week,” Elizalde said.

A new shipment of tests will be sent to AISD every month, and there will be a supply for each school campus.

AISD reminds people that testing is not mandated for anyone, but it is available for those who are interested and removes barriers people must go through to get a test.

“[It’s for] students, staff members, bus drivers — anyone that has interactions with students. That’s the intent, to ensure that we can keep our schools as safe as possible,” Elizalde said.

Across Texas

The state announced a rapid COVID-19 testing pilot program for schools earlier this month. Granger ISD in Williamson County and Lampasas ISD in Lampasas County were two Central Texas school districts included the pilot.

Both public and private schools wanting to get tests could start applying through the TEA on Oct. 28.

As of Oct. 30, the TEA said 206 school systems so far have applied to be a part of the rapid testing program. This includes Fort Worth ISD, Houston ISD, Austin Achieve Public Schools, Johnson City ISD, San Saba ISD and a slew of private schools.

Additionally, 39 school systems have already received an initial shipment, according to the TEA. That makes 160,200 tests that have already been given out.

In total, 361,526 tests have been requested, the TEA said.

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