HOUSTON (KIAH) — As COVID-19 cases ramp up in Houston, the Houston Independent School District (HISD) is offering free tests for students and campus staff to limit the spread of the virus.

Starting in January, HISD is partnering with the Houston Health Department and Fulgent Genetics to provide COVID-19 tests for anyone in their district.

Testing is completely voluntary and requires the student’s guardian to provide a one-time consent by completing a digital form.

All participants can be given a PCR test on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. According to medical professionals, PCR tests provide more accurate results than a rapid test.

Results are available within 24 to 48 hours. You’ll receive an email or text notification that tells you how to access your information.

District officials say ​​the COIVD-19 screening tests could help drive swift action to slow and stop the spread of the virus.

Superintendent Millard House says, “We are looking forward to adding this layer of protection to our COVID-19 mitigation strategies. We remain committed to keeping our students and staff safe and working toward implementing strategies that can help us continue offering safe and sustainable in-person instruction.”

As of December 17th, when school was released for winter break, the district currently had 143 active cases. The majority of the cases are students. Teachers and staff make up 20 percent of the active cases in Houston ISD.

According to Candice Castillo, the Executive Officer of Student Support Services, “This program will also allow us to promote equity by ensuring every student has access to COVIS-19 testing if they want it and if their parent/guardian provides consent.”

For parents, there’s a digital consent form that must be signed prior to testing. Visit the Fulgent Genetics website to sign-up.

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