Gov. McMaster gives DHEC authority to move forward with COVID-19 testing program in schools

Coronavirus

This image provided by Abbott Laboratories shows the company’s BinaxNOW rapid COVID-19 nasal swab test. After months of struggling to ramp up coronavirus testing, the U.S. is now capable of testing some 3 million people daily thanks to a growing supply of rapid tests. But the testing boom comes with a new challenge: keeping track of the results. (Abbott Laboratories via AP)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – Governor Henry McMaster on Wednesday signed Executive Order 2020-73, giving the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) the greenlight to implement a school-based COVID-19 testing program.

The initiative was first announced last week during a press conference.

Under the program, 220,000 Abbott BinaxNOW rapid tests will be distributed amongst participating school districts as early as next week. Tests will be allocated based on population size.

Symptomatic students, teachers, and staff will be prioritized during the first round of tests. Students will be required to have a letter of consent from a parent or guardian in order to get the test.

Results are available in around 15 minutes.

Governor McMaster issued the following statement:

“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. 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.”

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