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Port Arthur's Bob Hope School to get COVID-19 rapid tests as part of state program

Eight Texas school systems will be part of state's rapid testing pilot program.

PORT ARTHUR, Texas — School districts are constantly working with state officials to keep COVID-19 cases down across campuses. 

One Southeast Texas school just got a little extra help straight from the governor's office.

When Bob Hope School students head back to the classroom for the first time next week they will have something they can depend on to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Eight Texas school systems will soon be able to get coronavirus results from students and teachers in 15 minutes or less thanks to the state's rapid testing pilot program which includes the charter school in Port Arthur.

The Texas Division of Emergency Management will provide the tests to the eight school systems.

Students will need written permission from a parent or guardian in order to be tested.

12news reached out to Bob Hope's superintendent  who says the school system is still waiting for more details from the governor's office.

Beaumont doctor Ray Callas says having rapid testing inside of schools will be very effective. 

"It's a very good chance for us to have a to look at this virus in the way it penetrates with rapid testing at schools because I think once we can show that kids can go back to school, be educated and continue to learn during a pandemic, it's very vital to the future education of our children," Dr. Callas told 12News.

The program is meant to help schools conduct rapid tests of employees and students who have written permission from parents. Health experts have said accessible, rapid testing could help the state achieve substantive widespread COVID-19 testing, an elusive public health goal for Texas and much the country.

John Wittman, a spokesperson for the governor, said the tests are part of the millions being provided to Texas by the federal government. The medical company producing the tests said the antigen tests require a nasal swab, cost $5 and are about the size of a credit card.

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