Please submit forms online using the above links. You may also email completed consent forms to firstname.lastname@example.org or print and submit to your school nurse.
There are no chemicals used whatsoever on our testing swabs. The BROAD institute, our testing facility, uses cotton swabs very similar to a q-tip with no additives or chemical agents.
Below is a video produced by Holyoke Public Schools that outlines the surveillance testing process.
For more information, view our webinar recording below.
Guidance for staff and students who have potentially been exposed or test positive for COVID-19 is currently being reviewed and updated by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Please check back for updated information.
COVID-19 Surveillance Testing
Surveillance testing uses a self administered lower nasal swab for regular weekly testing of individuals with consent. The swabs are processed in small batches or “pools” of 5 to 10 individual specimens. If negative, then all individuals are determined to have not been exposed to COVID-19 and continue with school attendance. If the surveillance testing is positive, the 5-10 individuals in that “pool” need to have a follow up test to determine which specific individuals are positive for COVID-19. The members of that pool will have an individual follow up Abbott BinaxNow rapid results test at school. After 15 minutes the results will be ready to identify the positive individuals who will be referred to their health care provider, must quarantine for 10 days, and school based contact tracing will be conducted. Individuals with negative results to the rapid results follow up test may return to school as long as they remain asymptomatic.
By using the surveillance testing methodology for infectious diseases the cost of implementing a school wide testing program is reduced making it a much more cost effective option. Wait times for test results is substantially shorter, which decreases the potential for asymptomatic positive COVID-19 contact and community spread of the disease. Research shows that schools have not been large vectors of community spread of COVID-19, mainly because of the consistent implementation of other mitigations strategies for mask culture and physical distancing. Public Health data is always made available in a historical perspective of the previous 14 days. In many cases, the schools are responding to data outside of school control. The use of a school based testing strategy provides the administration with real time data and the ability for immediate response. This will limit the number of students and staff members who will need to be out of school in remote learning and the need for a whole school or the district to close. The continuity of learning that our students need for socialization and to support mental health is enhanced by adding surveillance testing to our existing mitigation procedures.
Commissioner Jeff Riley of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education announced an opportunity for districts to develop and implement a surveillance testing program at no cost to the district for tests kits, software, and laboratory processing of the samples. In addition, districts received technical assistance and training in how to conduct the program safely for participating students and staff members. This free period will began for our district on February 23, 2021 and will continue into the 2021-2022 school year.
If you have additional questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to the School Nurse Leader, Amanda Davis at email@example.com or at 413-662-3240 ext. 2303.