Charleston Co. schools to offer rapid COVID-19 testing for students, teachers

Updated: Sep. 29, 2020 at 7:40 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston County students, teachers, and staff will soon be able to get rapid COVID-19 testing at school.

In a partnership with the Medical University of South Carolina, the school district will be getting a machine that can turn around test results in 15 minutes.

“It’s safe to say we would begin testing in October," Chief Operating Officer Jeff Borowy said.

The “toaster-sized" testing machine is called ID NOW, and it’s made by Abbot. MUSC will be providing one at no cost to the district, and Borowy said he hopes to eventually have five strategically placed around the district.

“This test is very safe, and it’s one we all believe, working with MUSC, can be conducted in our clinics," he said. “It’s an anterior nasal swab. It’s into the nose but not up into the cavity where the PCR test goes. It’s a very nonintrusive test."

All school nurses will be trained in the coming weeks to give the test, but students won’t be able to get it until their parents go in and sign a waiver.

“It would allow us to do contact tracing immediately, knowing there’s a positive case and identifying close contacts right away," Borowy said.

A few questions still remain in the process of collecting and transporting the tests. The district does not know yet how they’ll safely get the samples to their central location, and they still don’t know if MUSC will be providing the individual test kits.

“If we end up having to pay for the sample kits, then we would work that back through the Board of Trustees,” Borowy said.

The school district will be getting their first machine in the next week.

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