CHATTANOOGA – The Tennessee Department of Health has picked Hamilton County as one of seven school systems to try out a new, faster Covid-19 test for students.

It promises results in just 20 minutes.

School nurses will give the tests on site. They will also give PCR tests by Everlywell as a backup.  These are self-administered tests that you mail in just to confirm the fast test results.

The first BinaxNOW tests will be given Friday at Howard Connect School.

But they won’t begin with kids, just yet.

Step one will include testing of staff with symptoms at the middle school.

Then ten days later, the testing expands to all schools.

Again, just staff with symptoms.

Then beginning with the spring semester, they will test students with symptoms.

And finally, beginning February 1st, they will test all asymptomatic staff.

“The priority for everyone in Hamilton County Schools is to keep students and staff safe while continuing to help our children learn and grow,” said Dr. Bryan Johnson, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools.

“The rapid test pilot will be an important addition to our SAFE Pledge that is reducing the spread of COVID-19 and keeping our children in safe learning situations as our teachers and staff prepare them for success in life.”