Please review the following information regarding our comprehensive testing program:
For the 2021-22 school year, we are offering an extra layer of protection to prevent the spread of COVID-19, our COVID-19 testing program at school. This program has three components: symptomatic testing for students and staff who show symptoms of COVID-19 at school, routine COVID safety checks to prevent the spread of the virus undetected among students/staff who are not showing symptoms, and test and stay for students and staff who may have been exposed while in school but are not showing symptoms. Each of these is a quick, non-invasive nasal swab that is collected under the supervision of a school nurse or trained health provider. Unlike COVID-19 tests of the past, these are not uncomfortable and easy for students and staff to do themselves.
It is important to Haverhill Public Schools that you are fully informed regarding the process and that we can answer any questions that you might have in advance of asking you to sign the electronic consent form (https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=null). Below we describe each of the three parts of our testing program, how they are conducted, and what they are used for.
Symptomatic testing is used when a student/staff member is showing symptoms of COVID-19 during school; students/staff members should not come to school if they are feeling sick while at home. Some symptoms of the virus look identical to other illnesses like the cold or flu, and this test tells us whether a symptomatic student has COVID-19 or not. This is a rapid test, and we receive the results of this test within 15 minutes.
Routine COVID safety checks minimize disruption to learning by helping us catch potential spread of the virus before it starts. Each student/staff member administers the safety check on a weekly basis. Samples are collected at school in groups of 5-10 individuals. The samples are grouped together at school OR in the lab. Once the samples get to the lab, all the samples in the group are tested for COVID-19 together. In almost all cases, it will take less than 24 hours to receive safety check results. Students/staff may continue to come to school while awaiting safety check results; they do not need to quarantine while awaiting results. If a safety check test is positive, the students/staff member in the group will take individual tests to determine which student(s) in the group produced the positive test//the lab will automatically process each individual sample to determine which student(s) in the group produced the positive test.
Test and stay allows students/staff who have had close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 while at school to stay in school if not showing symptoms. Instead of needing to quarantine and miss school, these students/staff members will take a daily rapid test while they remain in school as long as they are not symptomatic. Students/staff participate in test and stay for at least five days after they may have been exposed.
If a student/staff member tests positive for COVID-19, they must quarantine at home for the CDC-recommended ten days since symptoms appeared or ten days since the positive test before returning to school. The student/staff member must also be without a fever for 24 hours.
Although students/staff who are vaccinated are much less likely to spread or contract the virus, it is important for us to create an inclusive environment for both vaccinated and unvaccinated students.
To participate in the program, you must sign this consent form by clicking on this link: https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=null . There is no charge for participating. If you have additional questions regarding the program, please contact your building based school nurse(s) or Katie Vozeolas, Director of Health & Nursing Services at 978-420-1965.
It is our hope that these measures will work together to keep our schools safe.
Carolyn Desilvestre and Helene Boudreau, School Nurses
Jen Rubera, Principal