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AISD tests hundreds at rapid testing site after Austin High School cases rise

Austin High School is the first school AISD closed due to COVID-19 cases.

AUSTIN, Texas — A team of nurses tested dozens of students and teachers for COVID-19 outside Austin High School Monday afternoon. The school is closed through Wednesday after a steady rise in cases, according to Austin ISD.

"This was pretty convenient for us to get over here," said Drew Mackintosh, a father of an AHS student. "We understand that it's happening everywhere, so we just want to be safe and make sure that he's tested negative so we don't have to worry about it, at least as it relates to our family."

RELATED: Austin High School temporarily closing due to 'gradual but steady' rise in COVID-19 cases

Mackintosh's son got tested for COVID-19 just in case. The Mackintoshs are one of the many families taking advantage of the free rapid testing after the virus started spreading at the high school. Students are now learning remotely through at least Wednesday depending on the results of the tests.

"The decision to close the campus right now was just as a proactive measure. Right now, we have had multiple cases on the campus, but they are isolated. And so it's been controlled outbreak, not an uncontrolled outbreak," said Alexandra Copeland, the AISD director of health services. 

Copeland said the school district had 400 to 500 tests available on Monday and it's something they could use at other campuses if there are more outbreaks in the future.

"Everything is done on a case-by-case basis. So, we want to look at transmission and whether it's happening on or off the campus, we want to look at how controlled the outbreak is, and I also consult with Austin Public Health," she said.

Austin ISD's COVID-19 dashboard shows AHS has the most cases compared to other schools in the district. As of Monday, the website said there have been 16 total cases. 

The district said it tested more than 250 people Monday, with at least four testing positive. Testing will continue through Wednesday. 

Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde said she is not erring on the side of closure for Thursday and Friday as of Monday evening, but she will continue to review tests.

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