AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and other state agencies have announced a pilot program that provides rapid COVID-19 testing for school systems.

In the announcement by Abbott, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), they said the goal of the program is to provide rapid tests to district employees and students, with students needing permission from their parents or guardians.

For now, the program will be launching in eight school systems, but the goal is to ramp up the program to more throughout the state. The systems taking part in the program are Bob Hope School in Port Arthur, Fabens ISD, Grace Community School in Tyler, Granger ISD, Lampasas ISD, Longview ISD, Harlingen Consolidated ISD and Ysleta ISD.

Through the program, the TDEM will provide rapid antigen tests for students, teachers and staff. The tests can produce results within 15 minutes, according to the governor.

“As more students return to campus for in-person instruction, the State of Texas is working alongside school officials to provide resources to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 among students and staff,” Abbott said. “Thank you to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for providing these advanced antigen tests to the State of Texas. This rapid testing pilot program will be an effective strategy to protect the health and safety of students and staff while helping to further ensure that Texas students have access to a quality education throughout the pandemic and beyond.”

The governor said public and private school systems that are interested in the program can begin applying through the TEA by no later than Wednesday, Oct. 28.

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