COVID-19 testing in classrooms

District Coordinator of the Texas Divisions of Emergency Management, Tony Gross presented COVID-19 testing information to a crowd during a McMullen County Local Emergency Planning Committee meeting. (Photo by Chris Filoteo)

by Chris Filoteo


TILDEN – Soon, school nurses will administer a noninvasive COVID-19 test inside state campuses.

District Coordinator of the Texas Divisions of Emergency Management, Tony Gross spoke to a crowd at a bimonthly McMullen County Local Emergency Planning Committee meeting recently in regards to the test.

“We have on the horizon for the future is soon to start doing selective testing in schools,” Gross said. “Tests are given to schools and the nurse(s) will administer the test for staff.”

Gross explained the process of what each test will entail.

“It’s a simple test that is a little card with a single line,” he said. “You open the card, drop six drops of antigens in the card, the person swabs each nostril five times and sticks in back in the card. It’s not nearly as invasive as other tests.”

The noninvasive test results are quick for those tested.

“You wait 15 minutes and if you see two lines appear, you might have COVID-19,” Gross said. “It looks like a reliable test with 97 percent accuracy.”

The process for school nurses administering the tests are relatively easy, according to Gross.

“It’s user friendly for people giving out the tests,” he said. “They scan a QR code in front of the test and all the info pops up. We are going to accelerate when all of the tests are on board.”

Gross also mentioned when COVID-19 vaccines would be released in three different phases.

“Vaccines are coming as early as Novemeber,” he said. “As citizens, you won’t see them in November because they will go to hospital workers and at-risk populations such as nursing homes.

“The second set of vaccines will go to first responders and then the final phase for the general public. The earliest vaccines for the general public is in the middle of next year.”

There wasn’t a timeline provided when the testing would begin, but Gross did state McMullen County might not be included.

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