WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The School District of Palm Beach County will go full scale in doling out rapid COVID-19 tests to all schools next week.
"Currently, we have over 12,000 rapid tests available," Jay Boggess said. "These are antigen tests given to us through the state Department of Health."
Boggess works with the district and is helping with the rollout of the Binax Now rapid antigen tests that have been talked about for weeks.
He said the district's COVID-19 response involves three parts -- social distancing in classrooms, mandatory masks on campus and the availability of rapid COVID-19 tests providing answers in a matter of minutes.
"If you are sick and you have symptoms, please stay home," Boggess said. "But this is if an individual starts to develop while on campus that a school-based employee or student can come down and get this rapid test."
Boggess said one of the 170 nurses throughout the district or a doctor will administer the test. A consent form must be signed by a parent or guardian before a test is given plus phone calls will be made, both pre- and post-test.
"I think it's a good idea just to know and to keep everybody safe," concerned parent Mary Allen said.
Jessica Rodriguez agreed with Allen.
"It's a good thing, but it can also kind of be a bad thing because parents are not supposed to send their kids to school sick, period, so at least you'll get to know," she said.
Boggess said the district believes the rapid COVID-19 tests will increase their ability to identify symptoms and minimize the spread of the virus.