The Houston Independent School District is partnering with the Houston Health Department to provide free on-campus COVID-19 testing to students and staff at numerous campuses.
Testing priority will go to communities with high COVID-19 infection rates and low vaccination rates. The testing program will begin later this school year. Parents at participating schools will receive a consent form that they must sign for their children to participate in the on-campus COVID-19 Testing.
“Thanks to the Houston Health Department we are continuing to expand our tool kit of protection that is keeping our students and staff safe from the deadliest virus of our lifetime,” HISD Superintendent Millard House II said. “First, we mandated masks in our schools, and now the City of Houston is providing testing that can catch COVID-19 before it spreads through our schools. This partnership with the City of Houston will save lives.”
Routine COVID-19 testing is crucial for children under 12 years old who are not able to get vaccinated. Testing is also essential for families and staff with younger children at home and others who are not vaccinated or are otherwise at higher risk of contracting COVID-19.
“We know students learn best in the classroom and keeping schools open for safe in-person learning is a priority,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “I urge parents to permit their children to participate in the testing program. Our goal is to keep campus staff, students, and families healthy while preventing a need to shut down schools because of a COVID-19 outbreak.”
HISD and the Houston Health Department are partnering with Fulgent Genetics to conduct the testing. The PCR tests use a shallow nose swab that goes only half to three-quarters of an inch into the nose and is rotated three times in each nostril. Qualified medical professionals will administer the swabs. Then, a certified lab will conduct the tests and results expected within one day.