Harmony Science Academy is participating in a statewide project that will let schools perform a rapid COVID-19 test on students.

Harmony Science Academy is participating in a statewide project that will let schools perform a rapid COVID-19 test on students who begin to feel sick during the day.

Staff also are guaranteed one rapid test each month, whether or not they show symptoms, said Claudia Carlos, the charter school’s medical assistant. The test is not required but is available monthly.

The school began offering the free tests in November. Carlos said the test, which provides a result in 15 minutes, is localized to the nostril area. She said the test is 97% to 98% accurate.

Carlos also said she uses routine visits with students, especially younger ones, as a chance to get them used to the idea of the test, just in case it is needed.

The test can be beneficial as more students return to on-campus learning, said April Crow, public relations and engagement coordinator for Harmony Science Academy.

Teachers can refer a student to Carlos’ office if they start to feel ill, and she has a list of screening questions she asks before administering the test.

“Instead of having to call the parent and put [the student] in the quarantine room and have the parent leave work or whatever else they may be doing to take them to a testing center, we can do it all here,” Crow said.

The at-school test benefits students, she said, because they do not have to miss up to three days of school waiting for result.

The rapid test is also helpful for the school, Crow said, because it can quickly identify the case, notify students in close contact and their families and limit further spread.

Parents returned a form granting permission for their child to receive the test on campus, Carlos said, but she still will make a courtesy call if she suspects a student has the virus If it is a positive result, parents are called to pick up the child. Any student with a fever is sent home.

Students who develop symptoms while at home are not permitted to come to campus, Crow said.

“We don’t want students who are already feeling sick to come to campus just for the test,” she said. “This is for students who start to feel ill while they’re already in school.”

Carlos said only one patient is allowed in her office at a time, and everything is wiped down and sanitized between patients.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, every student in the school gets hand sanitizer as they walk into the building and has to pass a temperature scan. Masks are required at all times except during snack or lunch times. All common areas have been adjusted to allow for social distancing, and classrooms have been reconfigured with plastic dividers installed. Students also do not transition between classes; instead, teachers move between rooms.

Originally Published at The Eagle