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Small Central Texas school districts struggling to meet demand for COVID19 tests

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 8:22 PM CST
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VALLEY MILLS Texas (KWTX) - As omicron cases continue to rise, so does the demand for COVID tests, especially, in local school districts.

Valley Mills ISD Director of Student Services Josh Jones says the demand for tests is off the charts after classes resumed after the holiday break.

“I tried to get some new tests, they told me the warehouses were backed up for at least one to two weeks,” said Jones. “The current tests are on backorder, so we’re having to use a different type of rapid test which also requires us to retrain all of our medical staff on how to do that.”

Valley Mills is not alone. The McLennan County Public Health District says it’s happening at nearly every school district.

“They had received funding to purchase rapid test kits from vendors recommended by the TEA to purchase from,” said Assistant Director Stephanie Alvey.

“What we heard was, three of the four vendors they could purchase from were out of stock. So, this is definitely happening across the board.”

That’s why they’re taking action, with two public testing sites available at the McLennan County Community College and Columbus Avenue Baptists Church.

“We’ve definitely made the two testing sites available this week to school districts,” she said.

“We just put out the word to them directly so that they can be aware. This is for if they need any students or staff or faculty needing testing at those sites too.”

In Bell and Bosque counties, we’re told students and faculty should check with their healthcare provider if testing is needed.

Regardless, Jones says it remains imperative that only students and staff who’ve been exposed or show symptoms get tested.

“We need to be really responsible with how we do this,” he said.

Valley Mills ISD district leaders say they remain hopeful they’ll receive 150 tests by next week.

More information on the McLennan County testing sites can be found on the public health district’s website.

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