State agencies have distributed more than 4,000 rapid COVID-19 tests to schools as part of a partnership to assist with testing symptomatic students and staff.
A spokesperson for the Maine Department of Education says that nearly four dozen schools across the state have received the rapid tests, which are authorized to be used for individuals showing symptoms, as well as staff who may have been close contacts.
Yarmouth Superintendent Andrew Dolloff says school nurses in his district began administering the tests a few weeks ago and have tested only about six people so far. Dolloff says by testing onsite, schools can immediately begin notifying and alerting close contacts if someone tests positive.
“Rather than waiting five to eight days, which has been the typical waiting period, for us to receive word from the CDC or Department of Education that we have a positive case at our school,” he says.
Other schools that have been approved to use the rapid tests include those in Brewer, Vassalboro and Augusta.