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See the latest news and updates about COVID-19 and its impact on the Charlotte region, the Carolinas and beyond.

South Carolina Schools Can Expect Rapid COVID-19 Test Kits Soon

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Rapid COVID-19 test kits for South Carolina public school students will start going out next week.

The federal government sent South Carolina 1.5 million BinaxNOW tests, and 220,000 of them will go to public schools across the state.

The tests will be used on students and staff who show symptoms while they’re at school. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control says students who develop symptoms at home should not go to school.

School nurses and athletic trainers will be giving the tests. It involves putting a swab inside the nose then inserting it into a card about the size of a credit card. Results will be known within 15 minutes, and the school employee then reports results to state health officials.

South Carolina Department of Education spokesman Ryan Brown says most of the testing will fall on school nurses, and there’s a need for more nurses.

“There is some federal funding that we’ve made available to school districts so they can hire additional school nurses, hire additional personnel to assist with this and other COVID-related needs,” said Brown.

Parents must give their consent before a student is tested for COVID-19.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster announced the testing last week, catching school officials off guard, said Brown.

Schools aren’t required to administer the tests, said Brown, but a majority of them are expected to use the tests.

“Over the next month as the nurses and athletic trainers undergo the proper training, they get the federally required protocols to administer these, I think it will be a useful tool,” said Brown.

Tests will start going out to schools and staff will start being trained on Nov. 30.