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School districts are participating in employee rapid testing pilot program

rapid testing covid-19
Posted at 5:14 PM, Dec 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-11 18:25:43-05

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Several Tennessee School districts are participating in a pilot program to test teachers and staff for COVID-19 faster.

Districts like Hamilton, Rutherford County and Clarksville-Montgomery County were selected to pilot a rapid COVID-19 testing program through the Tennessee Department of Health and the Department of Education.

The new tests will help school districts implement COVID-19 testing in their facilities that will provide results on-site within approximately 20 minutes.

Clarksville-Montgomery County School System was one of the first to participate.

The district's employee health and wellness clinic staff say this will help with staffing and saving lives.

"We have come up with a plan to adequately test our employees so we can get them back to work as quick as possible and safe as possible as well," said Sharla Smith, manager of OnSite Employee Health and Wellness Clinic.

Rutherford County Schools jumped on board Friday, the district will get 300 rapid tests. A spokesperson says these tests are only for employees. If districts want to test students, they need permission from the health department.

Using this method, some employees will be able to clear their quarantine periods faster under the new guidelines from the Tennessee Department of Health.

"We’re helping to save lives because people are dying from this, unfortunately; so I’m thrilled to have a hand in someone like that especially at no cost to our employees," Smith said.

If your school or school district is interested in participating in this pilot or if you have any additional questions, reach out to the Tennessee Department Education Team by emailing Covid.Education@tn.gov.