Maine schools to start voluntary pooled coronavirus testing thanks to new grant
A teacher or any adult can help students do a self-swab, and then they all go in a common container to then be tested
AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - The state is getting $40-million in federal funding to help with COVID-19 testing at schools.
Department of Education Commissioner Pender Makin says DHHS and the CDC are receiving the grant to specifically support testing within schools.
She says they’re working on a plan to include rapid PCR testing with results within 15 minutes.
That’s different from the BinaxNOW tests schools are currently using.
Makin says they can also be administered through a process called pooled testing.
A teacher or any adult can help students do a self-swab, and then they all go in a common container.
That container would be tested, and if there’s any positivity, a state contracted provider would then do individualized testing to isolate who might be positive.
“It’s kind of a full-service opportunity. Schools don’t have a lot of or any at all, responsibility, other than to make it available in the classrooms,” says Makin.
Again, this would be voluntary for students and schools.
They are going to try it out through the spring, during summer programs, and this fall.
Makin says they believe the funding will get them through December.
At that point, they will decide if pooled testing is an appropriate investment for some of their federal funding to support ongoing testing.
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