HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO)- During the pandemic, schools have made it their mission to ensure the safety of students and staff, but with outbreaks happening on campuses across the country Harlingen CISD has begun their COVID-19 rapid testing pilot program.
“We were notified from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) that Harlingen has been selected as one of eight districts,” said Harlingen CISD Chief Academic Officer, Alicia Noyola.
Harlingen CISD has begun using the covid-19 rapid testing kits on faculty.
The district has begun the first stages of the program, and the self-administered test is currently being used by targeted employees based on exposure levels.
“We identified who those employees were that had the greatest degree of physical and close contact with students or colleagues,” said Noyola.
According to Noyola, faculty has the opportunity to be screened on a weekly basis, but adds that the test is optional. The district did not receive unlimited tests, but Noyola said the goal of the soft launches is to ultimately have it on all campuses.
“At some point there will be an appropriate place for our students to participate in the testing again it’s a limited quantity that we have and so we are going to be very targeted about when those situations would be appropriate,” she said.
Students will only be allowed to test with parent permission. Noyola is hopeful the COVID-19 rapid testing program will prevent cases in any of their campuses.
“One of the big ways that it helps us is the screening because we are able to identify very quickly if we happen to have a potential situation and remove those individuals into quarantine or isolation,” said Noyola.
With the rapid testing being a tool to slow the spread of the virus, Noyola adds they are still adhering to the traditional protocols of facemasks and social distancing.