Winthrop will be one of several Massachusetts school districts to receive the Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 rapid diagnostic tests. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Ser-vices and the Department of Defense recently announced the initiative to deliver 150 million tests to schools and other critical environments.
Over the course of the school year, Massachusetts will obtain approximately two million tests for use in priority settings including but not limited to public districts, charter schools, educational collaboratives, and approved special education schools.
Winthrop Public Schools has been selected to be part of Phase I of the test distribution, which is set to start in January 2021, in time for the hybrid start date of January 4. Simi-lar to the PCR nasal swab test, the BinaxNOW rapid test will require a swab in both of the patient’s nasal passages. Following the swab, the Q-tip will be combined with an agent that determines the results in fifteen minutes.
The procedure will be administered by trained school nurses and medical nursing assistants on students and staff members experiencing symptoms. Patients with positive test results will be urged to get a PCR test outside of the school for confirmation.
“The BinaxNOW testing will be a great addition to the PCR testing we currently have in our community and helps to identify positive cases, allowing isolation and contact tracing to begin,” said Tara Beuoy, Head School Nurse.
Before Phase I of the test distribution begins, the district will be required to take certain steps.