Once this model was up and running in the fall, El Paso was ready to expand their testing efforts in January, testing roughly 6,600 students and staff weekly with BinaxNOW. This increase in testing enabled the school to make informed decisions, keeping positivity rates below 2% even during outbreaks.
Having students back in school impacts more than just their ability to learn.
Many students rely on athletic programs to earn scholarships to college. Providing weekly testing for student athletes enabled them to return to the classroom and their teams so they can continue to pursue athletics and higher education.
Because of the success the YISD created through frequent rapid testing, other school districts across Texas are calling to learn about their process and adapt it for their schools. USA Today detailed how schools in San Antonio, West Texas and even all over the country are starting to use rapid testing to help bring students and teachers back to the classroom. As the most widely used and studied test, BinaxNOW is being used by states across the country, including California, which recently announced it will distribute up to 3 million BinaxNOW tests for students.
With BinaxNOW in hand, Ysleta schools were able to create a long-lasting, more comfortable environment for their communities, allowing kids to do their best learning when they needed it most. Because every child deserves an education. And "every child deserves peace of mind. And the staff and teachers, we all need that right now. And it's just a ray of sunshine during these times," said Laura Calderon, Vista Hills Elementary School Administrator.
This story was originally published on May 19, 2021 and updated on June 15, 2022.