Dear TSD Staff,
TSD remains committed to doing all we can to keep staff and students healthy and safe. This week we are excited to share that we have launched our COVID-19 Rapid Testing Program in partnership with TEA (Texas Education Agency), DSHS (Department of State Health Services) and TDEM (Texas Department of Emergency Management). Our school has been given the authority to conduct Abbott Laboratories BinaxNOW tests which have been provided to us free of charge. Participating in the testing project is optional for Texas schools.
What tests are used in this program?
This program uses BinaxNOW tests which provide results in 15 minutes and are administered using a nasal swab in the front area of the nostril. These tests have been shown to be highly accurate, with accuracy rates of 97-90% for symptomatic individuals.
Who will be tested?
At TSD we will be offering these tests to both staff and students on a regular schedule to be published soon. These tests are optional for staff and require parent permission for students. We encourage all staff and students who work on campus and attend school in-person to participate in the testing program. Additionally, we will make the tests available for staff and students who are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
Can you describe the test?
The BinaxNOW test is a type of test called an antigen test. Antigen tests are designed to detect proteins from the virus that causes COVID-19 in respiratory specimens. The sample is gathered through a non-invasive nasal swab and tested with six drops of COVID-19 reagent.
How will the information from the tests be used
Staff and student results will be available within 15 minute and those tested will also receive a follow-up email within 24 hours, The results will also be shared with the school and with local health departments to allow for public health reporting and contract tracing and to determine the stay-at-home period for those testing positive. Additionally the total number of positive tests will be shared with the Texas Department of State Health Services as we are currently doing
What steps are required for students to participate in the program?
Parent Permission is required for all students under the age of 18. We have pre-populated all our student data into the permission form and assigned each student in individual QR code for testing purposes. The permission forms have been sent home with self-addressed return envelopes. When students are tested their QR code will be scanned and they will be registered.
What steps are required for staff to participate in the program?
As mentioned above we will be scheduling dates for staff testing by departments. Additionally, any staff member can request a test if they are symptomatic on campus by contacting the Health Center for an appointment. You must have your Driver’s License or a state-issued ID with a bar code that can be scanned to register you for the test.
When will TSD begin testing?
TSD will begin testing residential students on Sunday, November 29th prior to boarding the charter buses for their return to campus.
Who has been trained to administer this test?
Our nurses and several campus administrators have been trained to administer the test.
Who can I contact to get more information about the testing program?
Claire Bugen [email protected]
Courtney Harrell [email protected]
Gabriel Cardenas [email protected]