Martha’s Vineyard public schools have been accepted into a state-sponsored coronavirus testing program for symptomatic testing, superintendent Matthew D’Andrea announced in a letter to the school community this week

The testing program will provide the schools with another tool for testing students, in addition to a preventative testing program still in preliminary planning but expected to begin in early January.

The new state-sponsored program — called the Phase I Abbot BinaxNOW K-12 testing program — will provide schools with a set of virus tests to be used exclusively for testing symptomatic students or staff. The number of testing kits that the Vineyard will receive is yet to be determined, Mr. D’Andrea said.

The Abbot BinaxNOW program is a federal initiative that plans to deliver 150 million rapid diagnostic test kits, produced by Abbott Laboratories, to schools across the country, according to a late October release from state Jeffrey Riley, commissioner of the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

In an email to the Gazette, Mr. D’Andrea said Island public schools applied to the program late in October and learned Monday that they had been accepted into the program.

In his letter Tuesday, Mr. D’Andrea also detailed the first logistical steps in the Island’s asymptomatic school testing program. The five Island school districts agreed last week to contribute $150,000 to that testing program, whose total cost is pegged at $500,000.

The program will use saliva-sample PCR tests to regularly screen portions of the school population for the virus. The program is a preventative measure meant to head off potential outbreaks.

Asymptomatic testing will begin on Jan. 4, according to the preliminary plan, Mr. D’Andrea said in his letter.

Tests will be self-administered at home and delivered to a central drop-off area at a preset date and time during designated testing week, he also said. Tests will be sent to the lab on Tuesdays, with results available the following Thursday.

“We will continue to work out the details of this plan. This plan mirrors what is being done in Wellesley, and we are communicating with them to learn from their experience,” the superintendent said in the letter.

Many details remain to be settled before the asymptomatic testing program can begin, including covering the balance of funding needed, and negotiating a contract agreement with the union representing the teachers.

In his letter Tuesday, Mr. D’Andrea also provided for the first time more detailed information about Covid cases in the school population.

As of Tuesday afternoon, seven students are in quarantine due to positive tests — three at the high school, three at the Edgartown School and one at the Tisbury School, the letter said. Two staff members — one at the high school and at the Oak Bluffs School — are quarantined due to a positive test.

A total of 42 students and 20 staff are currently quarantining as close contacts, with small networks of contacts concentrated in specific schools. More than half the students currently isolating as close contacts attend the Oak Bluffs School. Ten of the total 20 staff members identified as close contact work at the high school.

All the cases were diagnosed outside school building facilities, administrators have said. Currently the Island schools are in various stages of remote, hybrid and in-person learning.

The high school is all remote except for students with high needs is expected to remain that way at least until the end of the calendar year.

The five elementary schools are all using differing versions of hybrid model.