Seventeen school districts and 11 charter schools have been selected by North Carolina health officials to receive rapid COVID-19 tests as part of a state pilot program.
The K-12 schools will use the tests when in-person instruction is occurring. All schools selected offer either full in-person instruction or a hybrid of remote learning and in-person instruction.
The NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) believe the rapid tests will slow the spread of the virus by quickly identifying infected students and staff.
“This program gives us another tool in our toolkit to slow the spread of COVID-19 across our state and to keep children in the classroom, which we know is vital not only to their academic growth but also to their health and emotional development,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen. “We will learn from these pilot schools and plan to expand the program early next year.”
NCDHHS sent the selected districts and schools more than 50,000 federally funded rapid antigen tests. Tests are to be used for students and staff who have COVID-19 symptoms or who are close contacts of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
To be selected for the first phase of the program, district and charter leaders had to confirm to local health departments that each participating school can:
- Obtain parental/guardian consent prior to testing.
- Maintain adequate supplies of personal protective equipment.
- Have trained personnel to administer tests or partner with a local health provider.
- Report test results to state and local public health agencies.
Selected schools will use the Abbott BinaxNOW rapid antigen test card, which uses a nasal swab to detect COVID-19 and provides results in 15 minutes without laboratory processing. The swab must be performed by trained personnel.
Students and staff will have access to more than 200 school-based testing locations across 17 counties as part of the pilot. Local health departments in each county participated in the application process and, in some cases, will help with testing.
More information on the COVID-19 testing pilot for K-12 schools is available at covid19.ncdhhs.gov/guidance#schools.
Here’s the list of selected districts and schools by county:
- Alamance County: Alamance-Burlington School System (33 locations).
- Albemarle County: Northeast Academy for Aerospace and Advanced Technologies (1 location).
- Bladen County: Emereau Bladen Charter School (1 location).
- Buncombe County: Asheville City Schools (11 locations), Buncombe County Schools (44 locations), Francine Delany Charter School (1 location).
- Cabarrus County: Cabarrus Charter K-12 (2 locations), Cabarrus County Schools (6 locations), Kannapolis City Schools (2 locations).
- Catawba County: Catawba County Schools (29 locations), Hickory Public Schools (9 locations), Newton Conover City Schools (6 locations).
- Durham County: Central Park School for Children (1 location), Healthy Start Academy (1 location).
- Forsyth County: NC Leadership Academy (1 location).
- Gaston County: Gaston County Schools (1 location).
- Harnett County: Harnett County Schools (28 locations).
- Johnston County: Johnston County Public Schools (1 location).
- Lenoir County: Lenoir County Public Schools (17 locations).
- Lincoln County: Lincoln Charter School (2 locations).
- Madison County: Madison County K-12 Public Schools (6 locations).
- Mecklenburg County: Lake Norman Charter (1 location), Sugar Creek Charter School (1 location), UpROAR Leadership Academy (1 location).
- Surry County: Elkin City Schools (3 locations), Mount Airy City Schools (4 locations), Surry County Schools (20 locations).
- Wilson County: Wilson County Schools (2 locations).