covid-19 testing program
Beginning October 18, all SPS students and staff will utilize ONLY nasal swab testing. Please see instructions here:
9 September 2021
Dear Parent and Caregivers,
We are pleased to share that Shrewsbury Public Schools (SPS) has been approved to participate in the state COVID-19 testing program. As part of this program, we will be offering routine COVID safety checks (formerly known as pooled testing) weekly. This testing is voluntary and all students are encouraged to participate. Test and Stay for close contacts will also be an option for eligible individuals identified as close contacts at school. These testing opportunities are another layer in the mitigation strategies that we have in place to keep our schools as safe as possible during this challenging time.
TESTING CONSENT REQUIRED
The first step for parents who would like to have their student participate in testing is the completion of a consent form that can be found here.
This consent must be completed for the 2021-22 school year; those who participated in testing last year will need to complete a new consent in order to participate this year. Providing consent will allow participation in routine testing and Test and Stay for close contacts identified during contact tracing at school. The consent also includes symptomatic testing, however SPS is not participating in that option at this time.
Please see below for some of the details of the routine safety check program.
- Because we are now under the umbrella of the state-funded testing program, our testing vendor and processes will be different.
- ALL* Shrewsbury Public Schools students are eligible to participate in free, weekly testing. Testing is not mandatory but is highly encouraged as it will provide us with valuable information about the prevalence of COVID in our school community. Students are encouraged to participate whether or not they are vaccinated.
- Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days are not eligible for testing due to the higher likelihood of a false positive result.
- We will utilize pooled testing for our weekly routine safety checks. Pooled testing involves the collection of individual specimens which are then grouped at the lab and tested as a “pool” to allow for more economical testing of large numbers of people. If a pool results as negative, it is safe to presume that all participants in the pool are negative. If a pool results as positive, the existing individual samples will then be tested individually to determine who within the group is positive, there is no need for a second sample.
- It is important to note that pooled testing is intended for people who do not have symptoms and are not known close contacts to a positive case. Anyone experiencing symptoms or known to be a close contact to a positive case must instead follow district protocols for quarantine and individual testing.
- Routine safety checks will be a self administered saliva test which is done at home. Test kits and instructions will be sent home on Mondays; the test should be administered at home on Tuesday morning and then dropped off at the designated area in each building.
- Specimens will be assigned to random pools and shipped to the lab for processing, and results will be available within 36-48 hours. You will be notified by a school nurse if your result is positive. You will not receive notification for a negative result (no news is good news!).
- Additional information regarding the logistics of registration, test distribution and collection will be provided to those who consent to testing.
TEST AND STAY PROGRAM
- When a positive case of COVID-19 is identified in the school population and the individual was in school during their 2 day infectious period, contact tracing is completed in school. Close contacts are identified and notified. More information about close contact and exemptions can be found on page 4 of the DESE/MDPH Protocols for Responding to COVID-19 Scenarios - SY 2021-22 document, here.
- Close contacts who are not exempt from the need to quarantine are eligible for the Test and Stay protocol that is detailed on page 7 of the document linked above (Protocol B-1). Completion of the testing consent form is required in order to participate in Test and Stay.
- If a staff or student is identified as a close contact and is eligible for Test and Stay, the school nurse involved will explain the program in more detail.
For testing related questions not covered here you may email email@example.com.
Thank you in advance for considering participation in the COVID testing programs that have been made available to us, and for following the protocols that we have in place to help maintain a safe school environment each and every day.
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