Melissa ISD to Implement Voluntary COVID-19 Testing

Staff reports
Melissa ISD

Beginning Jan. 20, Melissa ISD students will be able to get rapid COVID-19 tests free of charge.  The initiative is part of a statewide program for rapid testing in schools that was organized by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) in conjunction with the Texas Department of Emergency Management (TDEM).

Voluntary testing for employees began in December.

Students who wish to be tested must first get formal consent from their parents or guardians.  Consent forms will be provided to students when they return to class in January. The district will share more details on the testing process at that time.

Tests will be given by a trained Melissa ISD employee. It is optional and open to both symptomatic and asymptomatic students. However, testing will be recommended for both students and employees who show signs of the virus. 

The program will use BinaxNOW tests than can provide results in 15 minutes. They are administered with a nasal swab in the front area of the nostril. The tests have an accuracy rate of 97-98 percent for symptomatic people. 

Test results for those who test positive will be shared with Melissa ISD and Collin County Health Care Services (CCHS). This will allow for public health reporting and contract tracing as well as helping to determine the stay-at-home period. The total number of positive tests per school will also be shared with the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) as required by law.

During an end of the semester address to Melissa ISD families, Deputy Superintendent Kim Boedeker acknowledged that this has been a school year unlike any other.  Still, she said the district was grateful for the opportunity to serve students both in person and remotely.

“It isn’t clear to us what 2021 will bring, but we do know who we are in Melissa schools and our commitment to our students, our staff and our community,” she said. “We are committed to providing the best education experience that we can for all to thrive.”