Rapid COVID testing approved for Lee County schools

Coronavirus testing
Posted at 9:33 PM, Nov 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-17 22:35:43-05

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — During a board meeting Tuesday, the Lee County school board approved the voluntary testing of students and staff that show symptoms of the Coronavirus.

Testing will require permission from a parent or guardian.

Equipped with 2,000 tests from the state, once a parent approves, Lee Health staff will administer the test, with results coming back within 15 minutes.

"Because it is rapid testing, it allows the parents, the family to get that result immediately," said Debbie Jordan, Chairwoman, Lee County School Board.

Students and staff who present symptoms will be sent to an isolation room in their school and the parent or guardian will be asked to pick up the student.

Depending on the severity of the symptoms a test will be offered.

"As part of our process, we not only have to contact the parent or guardian but we will wait on that person to arrive at that site before we even administer that test," said Superintendent Gregory K. Adkins.

Parents will need to sign a waiver form.

Tests will be administered by a COVID response team from Golisano Children's Hospital.

Lee County commissioners approved $250,000 in CARES Act funding to be used to cover the labor.

“In about 15 minutes we should receive what that test says," said Dr, Adkins.

Students who test negative will still need to be out of school for 10 days, or until they are cleared by a physician to return.

Superintendent Dr. Adkins reassures the testing is voluntary.

"It is not mandatory, it is not required, it is offered to parents free of charge," said Dr. Adkins.

News parent Jessica Rivas is glad to hear.

"It's available, great, I think it's wonderful," said Rivas.

Rivas was at Tuesday's meeting voicing concerns on whether the test would mandatory.

“As a parent, it should be our choice, whether we want to give that exam to our child," Rivas.

Testing is set to be available five days a week until the end of the year.

The school district hopes to begin the rapid testing as early as tomorrow.