Rapid COVID-19 tests soon will be available in every South Carolina public school to conduct testing on a regular basis, with parent consent, Gov. Henry McMaster said Thursday evening during a news conference.
The BinaxNOW rapid antigen tests were provided to South Carolina by the federal government and will be deployed to every school in the state by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), in coordination with the South Carolina Department of Education.
Testing will be voluntary and parental consent will be required before a child can be tested. Testing in schools will be conducted on a regular basis, and results will be reported to SCDHEC. The department will conduct contact tracing for any positive test.
“The first rounds or so of these will be aimed at use for symptomatic students and staff,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, SCDHEC’s interim director of public health. “[School] nurses will be trained. This is just inside the nose is the real shallow nasal swab, so they will be trained in how to perform the test.”
Traxler said the department will work with schools to conduct testing innovatively to prevent potentially exposing students and staff, including employing drive-by testing methods.
“For many South Carolina families, schools provide the only opportunity the parents have to go to work. Parents should not have to choose between their child’s welfare or their job,” McMaster said. “By following official COVID-19 procedures and protocols, schools can be operated safely.”
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