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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  K-12 education

Spokane Public Schools to get rapid COVID-19 tests

The Spokane Public Schools district office at Main Avenue and Bernard Street.  (JESSE TINSLEY)
The Spokane Public Schools district office at Main Avenue and Bernard Street. (JESSE TINSLEY)

By next month, Spokane Public Schools expects to implement a building-based COVID-19 testing program that is expected to limit the spread of the virus and reduce the number of students and staffers forced to quarantine because of close contact.

The district is one of 10 in the state chosen for the state-funded program in collaboration with the Washington State Department of Health.

“This opportunity reflects recognition of our district’s thoughtful and successful planning for reopening school buildings,” Superintendent Adam Swinyard said in a letter sent Tuesday night to families and staff.

“As we have closely followed the guidance of public health officials, transmission of COVID-19 in schools has been extremely rare,” Swinyard added. “Moving forward, we will continue to follow public health guidance and return additional students to in-person instruction as soon as it is determined safe.”

Given rising COVID-19 metrics and recent guidance from Gov. Jay Inslee, it’s unclear when that will happen.

However, Swinyard is hopeful that the tests will “represent an additional strategy for enhancing safety and limiting the spread of the virus.”

When they become available, the tests will be administered only after parental consent.

The tests will be in the form of an oral swab, which will be packaged and sent to a lab. Results would be expected in 24-48 hours, according to Becky Doughty, director of Health Services for the school district.

More details will be sent to families in coming weeks, Swinyard said.

“SPS will continue to collaborate with state and local health officials to navigate the evolving pandemic,” Swinyard added.

“It is our goal to put the best possible protocols in place to address the safety and well-being of students, staff and families,” Swinyard said.

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