CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston County school leaders are working with MUSC to implement rapid COVID-19 testing to keep the district healthy as more students return to the classroom.
District leaders say the testing will allow the district to identify new cases faster and perform contact tracing to prevent any outbreaks among students and staff.
“[I] chose the virtual option, they’re home schooled,” says Francis Beylotte, referring to his kids who are students in the Charleston County School District. “But this is the kind of thing that would make me feel better about sending them back in person not to mention that they are driving me crazy at home.”
COVID-19 rapid testing is expected to be in place in the coming weeks across the district. For parents, they say it’s an added layer of security as students return to the classroom.
“I think it’s a wonderful thing, I think it’s a great thing,” says Beylotte. “It will allow them to target and contact trace in a manner that’s a lot quicker.”
CCSD is partnering with MUSC to conduct COVID-19 tests to identify new cases faster and prevent large scale outbreaks in the district.
“Those are the two potential uses, one for systematic staff and students and then if we have an increase in cases in a particular school,” says Jeff Borowy, Chief Operating Officer for CCSD.
The tests will be performed by a device called I.D. NOW with rapid results. District leaders say they are also working to secure individual tests.
“Get a result back within 15 minutes of the test to know that the individual is positive or negative,” says Borowy. “For the students we will have parents sign a consent form.”
CCSD is hoping to have it’s first I.D. NOW testing device within the next week and hopes to receive additional units to spread across the district.
“It’s an interior test, it’s not the deep dive or PCR test that some of you may have had so it’s much less intrusive,” says Borowy.
And while Beylotte says he’s waiting on a lower infection rate to send his kids back to in-person school, he believes leaders are working to keep students healthy.
“I’ve been critical of the district with their reopening, extremely critical but I think this is an excellent step in the right direction,” says Beylotte.
District leaders are hoping to put the testing in place across all Charleston County schools in the weeks to come.