Austin ISD to roll out COVID-19 rapid testing in phases starting Wednesday


AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Independent School District released more information about its COVID-19 rapid testing program to parents, students and staff Tuesday.

We first heard Austin ISD could be getting the tests back in October. It’s part of a state program where the district will be supplied with 15-minute rapid tests monthly.

The rollout for on-campus staff and students starts Wednesday, and it will happen in three phases. Those who are on site will be given priority throughout all phases. The test is free, and you don’t need health insurance, the district said.

The test will be a nose swab, which AISD said is “less intrusive than other COVID-19 tests.” Students in grades seven and up and adults can self administer the test. AISD said results will be available in 15 to 30 minutes and be communicated in-person, by email or by phone.

Here are the phases to AISD’s plan:

  • Phase I (Starts Nov. 11)
    • Week 1: Tests administered to individuals that are learning/working in-person, who become symptomatic while on site.
    • Week 2: Tests administered to individuals that have been learning/working in-person, who become symptomatic, while on-site, and those who fail a health screening while off-site.
  • Phase II (Date TBD)
    • Testing will now include asymptomatic (not showing symptoms) individuals who have been learning/working in-person and have had close contact with a confirmed positive case or have recently traveled.
  • Phase III (Date TBD)
    • Asymptomatic campus staff testing scheduled on a monthly rotating basis.

Even though some dates aren’t determined yet, AISD said leaders hope to have all three phases rolled out by Jan. 1, 2021, but that could change as more tests get administered.

The district said on-campus students and staff showing symptoms can speak with campus health room staff to get evaluated and tested starting Wednesday.

If you are an on-campus student or staff member experiencing symptoms while off campus, you can contact your school and schedule a drive-thru testing time starting Nov. 19, AISD said.

On-campus students or staff who have had close contact with someone with a confirmed case can contact their school to schedule drive-thru testing as well. The start date for this option hasn’t been determined yet.

Staff that teach students but are housed in a building other than a campus should email to schedule a test, AISD said.

AISD encourages students and staff who aren’t on campus to get tested through Austin Public Health.

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