COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – Gov. Henry McMaster signed an executive order Wednesday, giving the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control authority to implement its school COVID testing program.
According to a news release, 220,000 Abbott BinaxNOW tests have been allocated for the program and each participating district will initially receive enough tests for 10 percent of the staff and student body population.
“Right now, too many South Carolina parents are having to choose between their jobs and their children because they aren’t being given an option to send their children to school for in-person instruction,” McMaster said. “School districts throughout our state have shown that we can safely educate our children in the classroom, and these tests will give students, teachers, and faculty members another layer of defense against the COVID-19 virus.”
According to the release, the tests will be available to symptomatic students, teachers and other staff members, and test results will reportedly be available within 15 minutes.
Taking part in the testing program is reportedly voluntary and will require a consent form to be completed by the minor’s parents and guardians. School districts in the state also have the ability to opt out of the program.
According to the release, DHEC is expecting to distribute the tests to school districts next week, but said districts participating in the program will need time to distribute the tests to schools, as well as train staff to administer the tests.