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Fewer than a dozen school districts in Maricopa County sign-up for rapid COVID-19 testing

Coronavirus COVID-19
Posted at 4:08 PM, Nov 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-11 00:31:30-05

PHOENIX — Fewer than a dozen school districts in Maricopa County, the largest county in the state, have expressed interest in allowing rapid testing for COVID-19 at their schools.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced in September that 2.1 million rapid tests would be sent to Arizona and the focus would be to use them at schools and at congregate care settings.

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However, ABC15 has learned that of the 50 school districts in Maricopa County who were asked if they wanted the rapid tests, 27 districts have responded so far, of which eight expressed an interest in them.

The tests can reportedly give a positive or negative result in 10 -15 minutes, Gov. Ducey said in a news release at the time.

Last month, ABC15 reported that there were concerns about who would administer those rapid tests at the schools, as not every school has a nurse. There were also concerns about the process of getting those tests, as some schools would have to create a special waiver in order to administer those tests.

Maricopa County public health officials have been working on a plan to give school district leaders the option of having the testing done inside their schools or outside of them.

Districts were also giving options to administer the rapid tests at the school themselves, to partner with Banner Urgent Care to test staff and students, or to allow districts to use a community vendor to administer the tests.

Here is a list of which districts and charter schools have moved forward to have rapid testing, and which option they chose:

  • Banner Urgent Care: A Challenge Foundation Academy, Litchfield Elementary School District, Scottsdale Unified School District, Fountain Hills Unified School District, Horizon Honors Schools, Hirsch Academy- CFA, Osborn School District, Liberty Elementary School District, AAEC Early College High Schools, BASIS, Paradise Valley Unified School District, Sonoran Schools, Glendale Elementary School District, Littleton ESD #65, Sentinel ED 71, Aguila Elementary School
  • Community testing vendor: Edison Project, Nadaburg Unified School District, Morristown ELD
  • Binax Now: Murphy School District, Cartwright School District, Phoenix Country Day School, Dysart Unified School District, Union Elementary School District, Paloma Elementary, Kyrene School District, Mobile Elementary

“The survey remains open and school districts and charter schools can always change their minds," a spokesperson for Maricopa County said in a statement.

"We are in the process of working with schools to confirm CLIA waiver and fill their requests for tests. Most of the training is through the manufacturer’s web site; however, we are working with schools that need additional training on a case by case basis," the statement read.

Officials with the Dysart Unified School District told ABC15 that they have not yet made a decision about rapid testing, but hope to have a decision made on Friday.

“We’re working through the processes and part of the process is how are we getting the notifications to the parents, so they’re understanding all that is happening, so that decision to implement this program has not been made yet,” said Ken Hicks, assistant superintendent for businesses services.