Courtesy of Montgomery County Public Schools via Twitter
**FILE** Courtesy of Montgomery County Public Schools via Twitter

Montgomery County Public Schools says it will start using COVID-19 rapid tests in schools as it deals with multiple case outbreaks that have resulted in hundreds of students and staffers force to quarantine.

Training for school district employees on administering the tests starts Friday, a county health department spokesperson said, WTTG-TV (Channel 5) reported.

“The use of these tests, in conjunction with other safety measures we have in place will hopefully help us keep more students in school,” said MCPS interim Superintendent Monifa McKnight, WTTG reported. “We will be receiving further guidance from [the Department of Health and Human Services] on the implementation of this rapid testing program and will provide information to you as quickly as possible.”

The decision comes on the heels of reports that the county had already quarantined hundreds of students and staff members during the first week of school amid numerous COVID-19 outbreaks systemwide.

MCPS officials said 1,781 students have been sent home as of Sep. 3 due to coronavirus-related absences, with 884 of them quarantining because of close contact with a positive case, WTTG reported.

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This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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