BOSTON (AP)— State education officials are unveiling a new program that would let schools rapidly test students and teachers who may be showing symptoms of COVID-19.

Under the program, which will begin rolling out in more than 130 school districts by early December, schools would be equipped with the rapid tests for free, state Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley said Wednesday. There are more than 400 school districts in the state.

If a student starts showing any symptoms of illness, they can be given the test, which produces a result in about 15 minutes.

If the test indicates the student has been exposed to the coronavirus, they can be sent home and advised to take a more exact test to confirm that they have COVID-19.

If the in-school test comes up negative, the student may be allowed to return to the classroom — or, if sick enough, may be sent home.

"By testing students and teachers and getting results within minutes, we will be able to identify infected individuals and their close contacts more quickly to help stop any spread," Riley said.

Schools would need the consent of a parent before the test could be administered to a student.

Riley said the tests are another tool that the state can use to help ensure students can safely remain in the classroom. 

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