POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Polk County Public Schools has secured a million-dollar grant to purchase tens of thousands of COVID-19 rapid tests for students, staff and their families.

“Getting the testing kits out to the health department, to allow them greater access and make sure that all our families have access to rapid tests, will ensure that our students can get back to class as soon as possible,” said Andrew Baldwin, director of federal programs and grants management at Polk County Public Schools.

This grant is funded by the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The grant proposal consisted of $902,817.31 for COVID testing kits and supplies and $13,500 for COVID rapid test equipment.

More than $200,000 is allotted to private and charter school students.

The rapid tests will be available, by appointment, at three sites across the county for students and staff.

Their symptomatic family and household members will also be able to access the tests.

“They would be able to go to one of the three locations and say that they are a household member of a Polk County school student and they would be able to take those rapid tests,” said Baldwin.

The testing sites and hours are:

  • Mary Sand Clinic, 1749 Holt Road, Auburndale, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday
  • Haines City Adult Day Care Center, 751 Scenic Highway, Haines City, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday
  • Lakeland Adult Day Care Center, 1200 Southern Ave., Lakeland, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday

People interested in getting a test should call (863) 519-7911 to pre-register for an appointment.

The timeline on the tests is still up in the air.

“The big obstacle is gonna be the availability. From my understanding, a lot of the purchase of the tests is still restricted in that only certain entities are able to purchase it,” said Baldwin.

The school district is coordinating with the Florida Department of Health in Polk County to obtain and administer the tests.

Polk County Public Schools families with coronavirus-related questions can call a hotline, open seven days a week from 12:30 pm – 8 pm.