Norwich Public Schools is expanding their rapid COVID testing pilot. As of this week, rapid COVID testing is available in nine schools for symptomatic students and staff. By the end of the month, rapid testing will be available in all Norwich Public School locations.
"If it is a positive, then we already have that knowledge and you don’t have to wait in line for two hours at some of these testing facilities," said Laura Dietrich, Nursing Supervisor for Norwich Public Schools.
Students and staff are not required to get a rapid test if they are showing symptoms, but if they want one they do have to sign a consent form. The testing is only for people who are showing symptoms.
NPS is using the BinaxNOW rapid test. The federal government provided Connecticut with the BinaxNOW tests. From there, the state makes the tests available to school districts and/or their testing partners at no cost.
According to the CT Department of Education, Manchester Public Schools, Hartford Public Schools and the Woodstock Academy have also received tests. There are still tests available for schools across Connecticut.
Norwich Public Schools is hoping that the rapid tests will help speed up the contact tracing process and slow the spread of the virus.
"It will help keep kids in school," said Dietrich. “Nobody wants to be where there are unknowns so if we can take unknowns out or decrease them, that’s a win.”