Akins begins offering rapid COVID-19 testing today

Austin+ISD+is+one+of+the+first+school+districts+to+offer+rapid+testing+that+provides+results+within+15+to+30+minutes.+Testing+is+available+starting+today.

Sam Dobbs

Austin ISD is one of the first school districts to offer rapid testing that provides results within 15 to 30 minutes. Testing is available starting today.

Austin ISD has received rapid COVID-19 tests from the state and will begin rolling out testing today, Nov. 11.

Testing is free. Health room staff on your campus will be administering tests to in-person students and staff. There are eight school districts in Texas that are piloting rapid testing programs from the Texas Education Agency. Austin ISD is not among the districts chosen for the pilot program, but Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde recently told school board members that the state is providing urban districts access to the rapid tests.

Austin ISD is one of eight school districts in Texas that are piloting this rapid test, which can provide results in 15 to 30 minutes of testing.

To learn more about how rapid testing will work at Akins, read the answers provided by Austin ISD administrators, including a phase-in schedule for testing:

Rapid Testing FAQ

What will it cost and do I need insurance?

The tests are free for on-campus students and staff, and health insurance is not required.

Will students need parental consent to be tested?

If you are under 18 years you will need parental consent. If you are 18 or above, you don’t need parental consent.

Who will get tests?

Testing will start with on-campus students and staff showing COVID-19 symptoms or those who fail an on-site health screening. Then, symptomatic individuals that fail the pre-health screening before arriving at a campus and asymptomatic students and staff will be able to be tested. On-campus students and staff will be prioritized.

What are the three phases to the plan?

  • Phase I (Starts Wed., Nov. 11).

Week 1: Tests administered to individuals that are learning/working in-person, who become symptomatic while on-site.
Week 2: Tests administered to individuals that have been learning/working in-person, who become symptomatic, while on-site, and  those who fail a health screening while off-site.

  • Phase IIDate TBD.

– Testing will now include asymptomatic (not showing symptoms) individuals who have been learning/working in-person and have had close contact with a confirmed positive case or have recently traveled.

  • Phase IIIDate TBD.

– Asymptomatic campus staff testing scheduled on a monthly rotating basis.

All three plans are expected to be rolled out by Jan 1. 2021, but this could change based on any new updates and as more testing becomes available.

Whom do I talk to if I feel I need to be tested?

  • In-person students or campus staff members on a campus showing symptoms: Talk to our health room staff to receive a COVID-19 test. (Starting Wed., Nov. 11)
  • In-person students or campus staff who are having symptoms that start while off-campus: Contact Akins to schedule a drive-thru testing time with health room staff. (Starting Mon., Nov. 19)
  • In-person students or campus staff who have had close contact with someone with a confirmed positive: Contact Akins to schedule a drive-thru testing time with health room staff. (Starting date TBD)
  • Staff that serve students, but are not on campus should contact the Department of Health Services at covid19response@austinisd.org to schedule a test.

How is the test administered?

The test will be administered by Akins health room staff, via a nose swab. Students in grades seven and up and adults can self-administer the cotton swab with a test administrator present if they want to.

Where will I get the test?

Testing will happen at Akins High School. Drive-thru testing at rotating campuses will be available. Students and staff who become symptomatic offsite will need to contact Akins to schedule drive-thru testing with health room staff.

How will I know when to be tested?

  • If a student or staff member becomes symptomatic while on-campus, Akins will provide a free, rapid COVID-19 test on the student or staff member and connect them to their primary care physician.
  • If a student or staff member becomes symptomatic and fails their pre-health screening, they will need to contact their physician, and can schedule a free, rapid COVID-19 test at Akins.
  • New health guidelines recommend that testing after close contact should occur 7-8 days after symptoms begin. If a student or staff member comes into contact with someone with a confirmed positive case, they must quarantine for 14 days, and they may schedule a test at a campus for the 7th or 8th day after exposure.
  • If a student or staff member comes into contact with someone with a confirmed positive case on AISD grounds, they will receive a letter stating when to take the test from the district.

Can I return from quarantine or self-isolation early with a negative COVID-19 test?

  • Because the incubation period for COVID-19 is between 2-14 days, those who have come into contact with a confirmed positive COVID-19 case must quarantine for 14 days, regardless of a negative test result.
  • Those who show COVID-19 symptoms and test negative may return to school/work early from the 10-day isolation period, as long as overall symptoms have improved and the individual has been fever-free without using fever-reducing medications for at least 24 hours.

How will I get my results?

Results will be available in 15-30 minutes and will be communicated in-person, by email, or by phone.

How can students or staff who aren’t coming to campus and who are learning/working virtually access testing?

We encourage students and staff who are learning/working virtually and need a COVID-19 test to contact their physician or use free COVID-19 testing through Austin Public Health. Find more information on the City of Austin’s website.