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Texas Medical Association urging schools to test students for COVID-19

The Texas Medical Association is asking schools to use rapid antigen testing for students to help prevent outbreaks in schools.

HOUSTON — Medical doctors from across Texas are recommending that schools test students and staff for COVID-19.

The Texas Education Agency has partnered with other state agencies to provide school districts with free rapid COVID-19 tests.  

"The idea is if you are able to detect early the amount of people that are infected, you can stop the infection, decrease the amount of admission and have a much better prognosis," said Dr. Gilbert Dr. Gilbert Handal, an El Paso pediatrician and member of the TMA COVID-19 School Reopening Group.

And although these doctors know that schools can’t test every student. They’re recommending they test a specific group of them.

"To test anyone that is suspected of having. Number 2, anyone that has been exposed and more or less frequently depending on the exposure. For example in sports especially indoor sports you have more exposure," said Handal.

The Houston-area school districts that have applied for this program include HISD, Cypress-Fairbanks and Katy ISD.

Katy ISD says since the program started on November 6, they’ve tested 11-thousand students.

RELATED: Katy ISD offering free rapid COVID-19 tests to students starting Friday

Cy-Fair ISD says rapid testing will be available at the Old Windfern High School starting on Monday from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. 

RELATED: HISD, other local districts join program to receive free COVID-19 rapid tests

And doctors hope that more and more schools decide to follow in these footsteps. All to ensure that kids can continue to learn in the classroom safely.

"First of all it would ease the mind of people. You hear a test that is negative, you would be at ease. It would allow kids to be in school more time. Number 3 it would decrease the closedown of school much less," said Dr. Handal.