State COVID-19 rapid testing program for schools, VISD not included

State COVID-19 rapid testing program for schools, VISD not included

AUSTIN, Texas – Governor Greg Abbott announced on Wednesday, October 14 the creation of a COVID-19 Rapid Testing Pilot Program for Texas school systems. The program is in conjunction with the Texas Education Agency, and the Texas Division of Emergency Management.

The 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.

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.

We reached out to Victoria Independent School District about their possible participation in the program. Superintendent Quintin Shepherd confirmed that the district is not participating in the pilot program.

Dr. Shepherd said that the state did not reach out to VISD to participate at this time.

The launch of the pilot program will include eight participating school systems. The plans are to significantly ramp up the program across the state, according to a news release.

Texas public and private schools that are interested in applying for the testing program will be able to apply through the Texas Education Agency no later than Wednesday, October 28.

Below is a statement from the news release:

“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.”

The schools districts participating include:

  • Bob Hope School (Port Arthur)
  • Fabens ISD
  • Grace Community School (Tyler)
  • Granger ISD
  • Lampasas ISD
  • Longview ISD
  • Harlingen Consolidated ISD
  • Ysleta ISD

You can learn more about the pilot program by clicking here.