Q. Does the swab hurt? I’ve heard COVID-19 testing swabs can be painful.
A. Unlike other COVID-19 tests, the sample collection swabbing will just be in the very lower part of the nose, and is not painful.
Q. If my child doesn’t have symptoms, why bother testing them?
A. Individuals can be completely free of COVID-19 symptoms (or asymptomatic), but still capable of transmitting COVID-19 to others. By participating in pool testing you are helping protect others in the school who may be more vulnerable, and you are helping to limit asymptomatic spread and keep our schools open.
Q. Is there a cost to participate?
A. No, there is no cost to individuals to participate.
Q. Will it be disruptive to school?
A.The sample collection will be short and occur only once a week. The time invested in a weekly 10-15 minute sample collection process will help protect against far more disruptive school closures that could result from asymptomatic spread.
Q. Do my child have to participate?
A. No. Participation is a choice, and while we hope everyone in our community chooses to contribute to this effort to keep our schools safe, health, and open, we will respect every family’s decision, and no child will be made to feel stigmatized or singled-out for not participating.
Q. If we do pool testing, do we still have to wear masks and socially distance?
A. Yes. Pool testing is designed as an additional layer of mitigation and is not sufficient alone to protect our students and staff.
Q. Can a pool test satisfy a negative test requirement under a state travel order?
A. No. The pool tests offer group results only, and are not appropriate to satisfy requirements for a negative individual test result.
Q. Can remote students participate?
A. No. The DESE and Shah Foundation funding for the project launch is specifically tied to supporting in-person learning. This is also not logistically possible due to all sample collection occurring within the classroom.
Q. How will I receive notification of pool results?
A. You will receive a direct notification and information about the follow-up testing if your child’s pool tests positive. A general notification will be made each week when all test results have been received and no further results are outstanding.
Q. What will the pool tested result tell us?
A. The test will tell us if COVID-19 was detected in any of the samples provided by the members of the pool. A negative test result means that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, was not detected in any of the samples. A positive test result means that SARS-CoV-2 was present in at least one sample in the pool, and individuals will be contacted and schedule to reflex (follow-up) testing using the Abbott BinaxNow test to identify the positive individual(s).
Q. Is there a potential for false positives?
A. Yes, all COVID-19 tests have the potential for a false positive, but in a pilot program false positives were very rare.
Q. How many weeks will the program last?
A. The initial launch phase supported by DESE and the Shah Family Foundation runs through late March. The district anticipates continuing the program through the end of the school year, barring any unforeseen circumstances.
Q. How long does the consent last for and can I revoke consent if I do not want to continue?
A. Consent is provided for the duration of this year's program, and families can revoke consent at any time by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.