Rapid testing begins for students

Local News

MAHOMET, Ill. (WCIA) — Today was the first day of a new COVID-19 testing method for students and staff. You may have heard it called rapid or antigen testing. It can get results in 15 minutes. School leaders hope this will keep cases down.

More than 500 people signed up to be tested today at the junior high school. School leaders are hoping to expand that to 800 people each day that the drive through is open. It will be available every Monday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and only takes a few minutes of someone’s time.

“We did a lot of investigation before we launched this,” explained district nurse Nita Bachman. They tried the method with staff members twice before this. That practice, along with planning, seems to be paying off. This is different from the PCR test, which is offered at Carle and Marketplace Mall.

“If you have people that are symptomatic… then the gold standard is that if they’re symptomatic but they test negative, that you would send them to get a PCR test.” However, Bachman says the method seems to be fairly sensitive, catching people who aren’t showing symptoms. It comes with quick results.

“They actually are taking 15 minutes for the test to process, and then we have a crew of people that are actually sending out information and disseminating that information to parents as soon as we get test results. Typically that’s within about an hour,” Bachman explained.

Superintendent Lindsey Hall says it’s too early to say what impact this will have, but they feel optimistic. “What it allows us to do is catch positive cases earlier than they would be caught without this testing, and therefore the potential is to perhaps slow the spread.” She considers it just another tool in their arsenal of COVID-19 protection. “We’ve offered shields to all of our staff. Some folks wear them, some don’t. That’s fine. Everybody wears a mask. We’re socially distancing to the greatest extent possible,” said Hall.

They encourage people to make this part of their schedule.

“For this to really help us and help us stay in school and keep people healthy and hopefully cut down on the spread of COVID-19, we need people to engage in this testing process on a regular basis,” Hall explained.

If you want to get tested, you just need to sign up for a time here. If you have additional questions, you can contact Bachman at this email: nbachman@ms.k12.il.us

Testing is not required, but it’s free for students and staff. The state is covering the costs. They’ll also do some testing throughout the week if someone has symptoms.

School officials remind parents to sign up their children under the student’s name, not the parent’s. If you test positive, Bachman will call you and explain what will happen from that point.

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