UPDATE – Clarification: Those who are displaying COVID-19 symptoms and test negative may return to school/work early from the 10-day isolation period, as long as overall symptoms have improved and the individual has been fever-free without using fever-reducing medications for at least 24 hours. A doctor’s note can be included, but is not required.
Austin ISD remains committed to providing a healthy and safe environment for our students, staff and community. Because we know that most students learn best with in-person instruction, we are pleased to announce that Austin ISD rolled out rapid testing to its on-campus students and staff starting Wednesday, Nov. 11. This will be a three-phased rollout that starts by testing those who are symptomatic on site, but will expand to more individuals as the plan progresses (see below). We have tried to anticipate your questions. Below are questions and answers to help our families and staff who may be interested in being tested through AISD.
What will it cost? In addition, do I need insurance?
The tests are free for on-campus students and staff, and health insurance is not required.
Will students need parental consent to be tested?
Yes. Students over the age of 18 and staff can sign their own consent form, while students younger than 18 will need parental consent.
Who will get tests?
Testing will start with on campus students and staff showing COVID-19 symptoms or those who fail an on-site health screening. Testing will expand to symptomatic individuals that fail the pre-health screening before arriving at a campus and asymptomatic students and staff as we progress through the three phases of our plan. Throughout the three phases, the tests will be prioritized for on campus students and staff.
What are the three phases to the plan?
- Phase I (Starts Wed., Nov. 11).
- Week 1: Tests administered to individuals that are learning/working in-person, who become symptomatic while on-site.
- Week 2: Tests administered to individuals that have been learning/working in-person, who become symptomatic, while on-site, and those who fail a health screening while off-site.
- Phase II – Date TBD.
- Testing will now include asymptomatic (not showing symptoms) individuals who have been learning/working in-person and have had close contact with a confirmed positive case or have recently traveled.
- Phase III – Date TBD.
- Asymptomatic campus staff testing scheduled on a monthly rotating basis.
We hope to have all three phases of the plan rolled out by Jan. 1, 2021, but any aspect of the testing phase-in plan could be modified based on what we learn.
Whom do I talk to if I feel I need to be tested?
- In-person students or campus staff members on a campus showing symptoms: Talk to your campus health room staff for evaluation and to receive a COVID-19 test.(Starting Wed., Nov. 11)
- In-person students or campus staff who are having symptoms that start while off-campus: Contact your campus to schedule a drive-thru testing time with health room staff. (Starting Mon., Nov. 19)
- In-person students or campus staff who have had close contact with someone with a confirmed positive: Contact your campus to schedule a drive-thru testing time with health room staff. (Starting date TBD)
- Staff that serve students, but are housed in a facility other than a campus should contact the Department of Health Services at email@example.com to schedule a test.
How is the test administered?
The test will be administered by campus health room staff, via a nose swab, just inside the nostril, and will be less intrusive than other COVID-19 tests. Students in grades seven and up and adults can also self-administer the cotton swab with a test administrator present.
Where will I get the test?
Testing will happen at the designated campus the student or staff member is housed. Drive-thru testing at rotating campuses will be available. Students and staff who become symptomatic offsite will need to contact their campus to schedule drive-thru testing with their health room staff.
How will I know when to be tested?
- If a student or staff member becomes symptomatic while on-campus, the campus will be able to administer a free, rapid COVID-19 test on the student or staff member and connect them to their primary care physician.
- If a student or staff member becomes symptomatic and fails their pre-health screening, they will need to contact their physician, and they are able to schedule a free, rapid COVID-19 test at their campus.
- New health guidelines recommend that testing after close contact should occur 7-8 days after symptoms begin. If a student or staff member comes into contact with someone with a confirmed positive case, they must quarantine for 14 days, and they may schedule a test at a campus for the seventh or eighth day after exposure.
- If a student or staff member comes into contact with someone with a confirmed positive case on AISD grounds, they will receive a letter stating when to take the test from the district.
Can I return from quarantine or self-isolation early with a negative COVID-19 test?
- Because the incubation period for COVID-19 is between 2-14 days, those who have come into contact with a confirmed positive COVID-19 case must quarantine for the entire 14 day period, regardless of a negative test result.
- Those who displayed COVID-19 symptoms but did not come into contact with a presumed or confirmed positive may return to school or work with a negative test. They must also have confirmation from a doctor that their symptoms are not COVD-19 related. Individuals must be fever-free without using fever-reducing medications for at least 24 hours before they can return to campus.
How will I get my results?
Results will be delivered in as little time as 15-30 minutes and will be communicated in-person, by email, or by phone, as indicated on consent form.
How can students or staff who aren’t coming onto campus and are learning/working virtually access testing?
We encourage students and staff who are learning/working virtually that need a COVID-19 test to contact their physician or utilize free COVID-19 testing through Austin Public Health. Find more information here: https://www.austintexas.gov/