Frequently Asked Questions

As community spread of COVID-19 endures in New Mexico, COVID-19 testing is key to slowing the spread and keeping students in their classrooms.

Below are answers to questions you may have. You can always contact us at

For general public and consumer FAQs on COVID-19, please see FDA’s COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions.

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How do I decide between a PCR and a rapid antigen test?

The Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag rapid antigen test will give results within 15 to 30 minutes. It is best used for testing of students/staff that have symptoms of COVID-19. We will also have an offering of a rapid PCR test through PMG (if equipment is available) that will give similar results. Either rapid antigen or rapid PCR if positive is enough for the school to initiate school isolation and send home for home isolation/quarantine and to begin contact tracing. If the school uses the Abbott BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag rapid antigen test for symptomatic (diagnostic testing) and the result is negative, a PCR will be needed for confirmation of the negative test.

For screening and surveillance testing, schools may use the Abbott BinaxNOW COVID 19 Ag test as long as the individuals are asymptomatic. However, a better open for screening and surveillance would be a PCR based test such as those provided by PMG (pooled, individual PCR, or rapid PCR). Schools can receive training on all if want to conduct this type of testing using school staff.

We need a CLIA Certificate of Waiver to participate, correct?

Correct. We have a webinar available for the CLIA Waiver process. Your Technical Assistance on how to fill out the application will come from State Licensing. The School Health Advocates (SHAs) have sent out information on how to fill out CMS-116.

Are these saliva-based or nasal swab tests?

It is anterior nasal, not nasal pharyengeal (the painful ones).

I participated in an earlier Abbott BinaxNOW Testing kit program with DOH, what do I have to do this time?

In the previous BinaxNow program, DOH owned the test kits and extended their laboratory certification to cover school sites. That program has expired. You will order the kits directly through the dashboard, providing you meet the requirements providing, including a CLIA Certificate of Waiver for COVID-19 Testing and training from the Abbott Corporation.

Where can you find the link to register?

Will we be allowed to use BinaxNow on staff or students with COVID symptoms?

Yes, with permission. If they are negative, but have COVID-19-like symptoms, they must self-isolate and get a PCR test.

Do students need to have parent permission to conduct the COVID testing if they are under age 18?

Yes, all students will need parent or legal guardian consent. Forms will be provided by the testing manufacturer.

Who is eligible for the grant?

New Mexico public districts, non public schools, public charter schools, Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), and tribally-controlled schools are eligible.

Can this program support Test to Stay?

The ELC Reopening of Schools grant can be used to support schools' Test to Stay programs.