CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Gov. Henry McMaster has given state health officials authority to move forward with the state’s school testing program.
On Tuesday, McMaster signed the executive order for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to implement the program which consists of 220,000 Abbott BinaxNOW tests.
Each participating school district will initially receiving enough tests to account for 10% of the staff and student body population.
The tests will be available will be available to symptomatic students, teachers, and other staff with test results available in 15 minutes. State officials stress that participation in the testing program is voluntary and will require a consent form to be completed by parents or guardians.
Individuals school districts also have the ability to opt out of the program, the governor’s office said.
Officials with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said they anticipate distributing the tests to school districts next week.
“Though participating districts will need time to distribute the tests to individual schools and train staff to administer the tests,” DHEC officials said.
“Right now, too many South Carolina parents are having to choose between their jobs and their children because they aren’t being given an option to send their children to school for in-person instruction,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “School districts throughout our state have shown that we can safely educate our children in the classroom, and these tests will give students, teachers, and faculty members another layer of defense against the COVID-19 virus.”