Upstate schools to begin free rapid COVID-19 testing for students, staff

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CLINTON, S.C. (WSPA) — Various school districts across the Upstate are working to roll out free rapid-result COVID-19 testing for students and employees.

Originally announced for state schools by Gov. Henry McMaster last month, the tests usually provide results in roughly 15 minutes. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is providing interested districts a number of tests based on 10 percent of combined staff, faculty and student population.

The state left districts decision power over whom gets tests and where and when testing will be available.

Some school districts, including Greenville County Schools, opted out of the program. Other districts, including Laurens County School District 55, are making testing available this week (LCSD 55 plans to begin testing on Wednesday, Dec. 9.).

Many other districts are still hammering out the logistics necessary to make testing happen.

β€œWe wanted to take the time, get our feet under us, and make sure we had a logistical plan that could be done — and could be done correctly, and carefully, and reliably,” Laurens County School District 56 Superintendent Dr. David O’Shields said. LCSD 56 plans to begin testing off-campus after winter break is over.

In LCSD 56, tests will be available only to those symptomatic for COVID-19. To get tested, students must present at least one of the primary symptoms for the virus (shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, new or worsening cough) or or at least two two of the secondary symptoms (fever, chills, fatigue, headache, diarrhea, sore throat, congestion).

Testing will be voluntary; schools will not administer tests to students without parental consent.

Below are a few of the districts still working on their free testing plan:

  • Laurens County School District 56
  • Spartanburg District 1
  • Spartanburg District 2
  • Spartanburg District 7

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