YANKTON, SD (KELO) — South Dakota schools can now administer their own COVID-19 tests to students, instead of those students getting tested at a clinic. The Yankton School Board has approved a new rapid testing program for students who are showing symptoms. The medical community is calling this a groundbreaking advancement in protecting children from the coronavirus.
School nurses in the Yankton School District will soon be able to administer a rapid COVID-19 test that provides results within 15 minutes.
“This is groundbreaking and really shows how important our schools are to helping stop the spread of this virus,” Liz Healy, Infection Prevention and Quality with Avera Sacred Heart Hospital, said.
The Abbott BinaxNOW antigen test will be given to students who start coming down with symptoms while in school and have their parents’ consent to be tested. It’s a nasal swab that’s more comfortable for children than more invasive swab tests.
“Those are the ones you have heard people say that they kind of poked their brain, it felt like they go very far back. This one is not as invasive, it just goes about one inch into the nostril,” Healy said.
A positive test result will send the student home for isolation and treatment.
“It’s a nice piece of the puzzle for the school districts in that they have very rapid results that can help determine where they go next with the student who is symptomatic,” Healy said.
Healy says the tests are accurate and the quicker results mean that students can be isolated sooner, and return to the classroom sooner, once they’ve recovered.
The tests are intended only for students who have the onset of symptoms while in school. They can’t be feeling sick at home and come to school to be tested.
Even a negative test result will send a student home because they’re showing symptoms. Those symptoms might not be coronavirus-related, but could be some other illness, like the flu.