Testing Update May 2022
May 16, 2022 -- MRSD has ended in-school pool testing, with May 9, 2022, being the last day of pool testing at school. Pool testing has progressively become less effective as increasingly more individuals have had recent COVID infections and are therefore unable to pool test (as it would ping as positive). While pool testing has been a helpful tool over the past year, the time has come to transition to home testing. Starting the week of May 16, everyone who opted into home testing will receive two boxes (four tests) every two weeks. This will allow for students and staff to test before school on Mondays and Thursdays, ideally catching any infections before they are able to spread. Please notify your school nurse of any positive home tests or positive tests from your pediatrician, and our nurses will guide you on how to limit spread within your household and when to safely transition back to classes.
MRSD COVID Testing - February 2022
At Monomoy, keeping students and staff safe and in school is our top priority. Following the updated Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Department of Public Health guidelines, we are shifting our COVID testing program and protocols beginning the week of March 7, 2022.
Starting the week of March 7, we will be launching a weekly at-home COVID testing program, using at-home rapid antigen tests, in conjunction with our existing pooled testing program. Any student can participate, whether they’ve been vaccinated or not, with parental consent. Staff are also encouraged to participate.
This new at-home testing opportunity is voluntary and those who opt-in will receive kits with two at-home COVID tests per student every other week. Caregivers will administer one COVID test on each student each week. These test kits will come home with your student, and we will communicate to families each day the test kits are distributed and sent home (so parents can check backpacks/receive the tests). We ask parents/caregivers to complete the opt-in form by February 18 to ensure we have the test kits available for you when we begin this new program.
In addition to this new at-home rapid antigen test option, we will continue with our Monday morning pooled testing, which provides a weekly COVID safety check using the more sensitive and accurate PCR technology.
The added safety provided by this new twice-weekly testing approach, offering families and staff two different COVID tests a week, allows us to discontinue our Test and Stay and in-school contact tracing protocols. Individuals will no longer be identified as close contacts by school health professionals. Only individuals with an active COVID infection or unvaccinated individuals identified as out-of-school close contacts will need to isolate/quarantine.
The ability of this program to successfully keep our students, staff, and families safe depends greatly on the participation rate. The greater the percentage of our school community that takes part in both the weekly pooled testing and the at-home testing, the better we will be able to identify cases and take appropriate precautions. This will help reduce spread, keep case rates low, and allow us to continue taking steps towards normalcy.
Please note: If your student has already been participating in the weekly pooled testing, we ask that you use the link that was emailed to you to sign up again. As this is a new program, combining weekly pooled testing and at-home testing, we need to create a new consent database.
Monomoy COVID-19 Testing Programs:
- Weekly Pooled Testing Safety Checks Monday morning every week.
- At-Home Rapid Antigen Testing on Thursdays for those who also participate in weekly pooled testing OR Mondays for those who are only doing weekly at-home rapid antigen tests.
You must opt in to participate in both or either of these testing programs. You will be emailed unique opt-in forms for each student. Please complete one form per student.
Overview: Weekly Pooled Testing Safety Checks
- About the Test: This is a highly accurate COVID test, conducted on the first school day of each week, and is analyzed using the “gold-standard” PCR technology
- Easy, Free, and Flexible: This test is administered at school. It’s quick and pain free. Most students swab themselves, under adult supervision. School nurses swab our youngest students.
- Results: Generally available the following morning. Positive results are followed up by school nurses using rapid antigen tests to determine the positive individual in each pool.
- Parents Responsibility: Parents need to opt their student into this program to have their child participate.
- Reporting Positive Results: Parents are notified whether their student is in a positive pool and if their student tests positive on the follow-up rapid antigen test conducted by school nurses. Students who have had a COVID infection in the past 90 days are excluded from this testing option, as they will likely cause the positive results to be returned for the pool.
Overview: New At-Home Rapid Antigen Testing Program
- About the Test: iHealth is a 15-minute at-home FDA Emergency Use Authorized antigen test.
- Easy, Free, and Flexible: This test is administered at home (not at school), reducing the burden on school nurses and provides families greater flexibility.
- Weekly: Every two weeks you will receive an iHealth at-home rapid test kit. Each kit contains two individual tests. Your student will take one test each week, under parent supervision. These at-home tests should happen on Thursdays for those who also participate in weekly pooled testing OR Mondays for those who are only rapid testing each week.
- Parent Responsibility: By opting in you will agree to review the training materials for the rapid antigen test on your student, administer the tests either on Thursday morning or at the start of the school week, if your student is not participating in weekly pooled testing, and report positive test results to your student’s school.
- Reporting Positive Test Results: If your student tests positive on an at-home antigen test, you will inform their school of the positive result using the [Positive Test Result Notification form] (found on this link). Positive test results are shared only with your student’s school nurse. Individual results will remain confidential, and they will never be made public. In addition, it is strongly recommended that you inform your student’s healthcare provider of the positive result.
- How These At-Home Tests Are Administered:
Click here for a full 'how-to' written guide in various languages
Click here for a video of an individual self-testing
Again, you must opt-in to participate in both or either of these testing programs. You will be emailed unique opt-in forms for each student. Please complete one form per student.