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Dakota Valley School District offering rapid COVID-19 testing for staff and students

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NORTH SIOUX CITY, S.D. (KTIV) - A local school district is now offering rapid COVID-19 testing.

Students and staff at Dakota Valley School District in North Sioux City, South Dakota can now find out if they have COVID-19 in a matter of minutes.

Dr. Jerry Rasmussen, the superintendent, said the state sent the school its initial batch of 280 tests.

"We believe it's going to help us at times increase the amount of students that are here in school because we are going to be able to know quicker if they test positive," said Dr. Rasmussen.

Rasmussen said it was taking health care providers 3 to 5 days to process a test -- so making the tests available for students and staff was a great tool to identify positive cases.

"We use them with our students when there are symptoms that fit our criteria for using a rapid test," said Dr. Rasmussen.

The school nurse administers the tests on students and staff. For students, parents have to sign a release form.

"We have used the test on just a couple of students, we have implemented it with our staff first," said Tessie Oberg, a registered nurse at DV Schools.

The school nurse said all it takes is a quick nasal swab, and they have the results in 15 minutes.

"Our hope is that we can eliminate COVID as a possible cause for their illness and then hopefully they can follow our typical school policies to be able to return to school faster," said Oberg.

The superintendent said they currently have a total of four positive cases within the district, but that number changes weekly.

The school nurse says they believe they'll be getting more rapid tests, but numbers are up in the air while they wait to see how many schools are participating in the program.

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Xava Parra

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