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Several Mid-Missouri school districts are among those in the state that requested rapid-result COVID-19 tests from a shipment by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The Trump administration announced Monday it would be sending 1.84 million Abbott BinaxNOW rapid tests to Missouri, to be distributed at the discretion of Gov. Mike Parson.
The White House's news release noted the state planned to give 60 percent of the tests to schools, 30 percent to higher education and 10 percent to state priorities.
The state's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education provided a list Tuesday of the Missouri school districts, Catholic dioceses and other parochial and private schools that requested the rapid tests.
These Mid-Missouri school districts are among those that have applied for the rapid tests: Cole R-1 in Russellville, Cole R-5 in Eugene, Columbia, Eldon R-1, Osage R-2 in Linn, Osage R-3 in Westphalia, Fulton, Maries R-1 in Vienna, Miller R-3, Moniteau R-1 in California, Morgan County R-1 and R-2, New Bloomfield R-3, South Callaway R-2 and Tipton R-6.
Nearly 330 schools and districts requested a total of almost 538,000 test kits for K-12 needs, according to a Monday news release from DESE.
DESE spokeswoman Mallory McGowin said schools that request the tests would get one per student and staff member, though they could be used to test people more than once.
However, "a district may request less than their maximum allotment. Oftentimes, districts are doing that if they only want to use the antigen tests among staff members, and not test students," McGowin added.
The Russellville and Eugene school districts are partnering with their health insurance providers to provide the tests to their staff at clinics in Jefferson City. These districts did not request tests for students.
Staff members in these districts who have COVID-19 symptoms will have the option for a rapid test. Cole R-5 Superintendent Dawna Burrow said the district applied for the rapid tests to save time and effort. Some staff members have waited up to six hours to receive a test and then waited three days for the results, she said.
"It's very time consuming for our employees, and then, basically, we don't find out until a couple of days later," she said. "Meanwhile, they've been on quarantine, we've gotten a sub, and then they may get a negative test, so it's a waste of time for them, and it's a waste of effort for us as well."
The rapid tests will allow employees to receive results quickly so they know whether they can return to work. Cole R-1 Superintendent Perry Gorrell said the rapid tests will allow the district to make quicker decisions.
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"You have to wait a couple days sometimes because the test results haven't come back in," he said. "The rapid tests will give us within 15 minutes, and we can start making decisions from there."
The Blair Oaks R-2 district and Jefferson City School District were not on DESE's list of districts that had requested tests, and neither was the Diocese of Jefferson City — though individual local parochial schools may have requested tests.
The White House added Monday more than 649,000 rapid tests had been shipped directly to congregate care facilities in Missouri, such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and to historically Black colleges and universities.
The spokeswoman for Lincoln University in Jefferson City did not immediately respond Tuesday for comment.
As of Monday, more than a million tests had been shipped to Missouri, the administration added.