WPS COVID-19 Pool Surveillance Testing Plan FAQs
Below, we attempt to anticipate and answer questions that you may have regarding pool testing. As always, we welcome your additional questions or concerns. Please submit comments or questions to wpscovidtesting@westwood.k12.ma.us. We will either respond personally or update our FAQ.



Project Beacon is a civically-minded effort, with no profit motive, created to help Massachusetts manage the COVID-19 pandemic, by greatly increasing the capacity, accessibility, and affordability of testing

Do I have to book appointments for my child?

No, your school will administer the tests based on their testing program.

How often will my child be tested?

Weekly on a day designated by school.

What if I already have a Project Beacon Account?

Your school will send you a unique link to create a Profile for your child if they are under age 18. Make sure to sign out of any existing Project Beacon profiles you may be logged into before clicking the link the school sent. If you are already logged into an account, you may get an error message when you click the school’s link. Simply log out of your existing Project Beacon account and click the school’s link again.

Questions about results:
How quickly will we get back the results?
Pool results will be available within 24-36 hours following sample submission. That means that all results will be back by the end of the day Wednesday for students tested on Tuesday and Friday for students tested on Thursday. You will only receive notice if your pool tests positive or there was a problem with your sample. “No news is good news.” 
What does my pooled result mean?
Below are guidelines set forth by DESE and DPH:
Inconclusive: An Inconclusive result means that there was an extremely small amount of virus detected by one of the probes at the laboratory, but not enough to consider the pool positive. The Department of Public Health considers these results to most likely be false positives or to be detecting trace amounts of the virus that are extremely unlikely to be spread. For this reason, there is no need to immediately re-pool the individuals in an Inconclusive pool, or to give them follow up tests, provided that other mitigation measures are carefully followed. While it is extremely unlikely that any individual in an Inconclusive pool would be able to spread the virus, schools are free to utilize follow up tests in this situation if they desire.
Invalid - An “Invalid” result could mean several different things, ranging from collection errors (e.g. swabs inserted upside-down) to a one-time error at the laboratory. Because of this range of possibilities, DPH recommends re-testing as soon as possible - either by re-pooling immediately or by follow up testing the members of the pool individually, according to what is preferable or more viable for your school. As opposed to an “Inconclusive” result, please do not wait until the next week to re-pool.
What if follow up testing can not be conducted on every member of a Positive pool?
In the event that not all members of a positive pool are able to receive follow up BinaxNOW tests (e.g. some are on vacation or otherwise absent), schools should proceed with normal follow up testing protocol with the members of the positive pool that are present. If follow up testing with the BinaxNOW does not identify a positive from among the pool members available, all available members of that pool must be re-tested with either a second BinaxNOW or individual PCR tests. As in other cases, it is not necessary to quarantine/isolate until an individual has received a positive individual test result.
Members of a positive pool who are not immediately available for follow up testing with the rest of their pool should receive follow up testing per normal protocol as soon as it is possible to do so.
How is user privacy ensured?
At WPS, the barcode corresponding to the sample will be connected with an individual’s name. This information is not transferred to BROAD. Therefore, the data portal that will be used meets and exceeds all HIPAA privacy protections afforded every individual since no Protected Health Information (PHI) will be shared. The nasal swab samples will be used for COVID-19 testing only. Only approved WPS Testing Administrators will be able to view all pool results.
BROAD will never know the identity of those being tested, as they only receive bar coded vials. WPS will only be provided name and email addresses; the email addresses are used as unique identifiers for those being tested.
Are you required to participate in pool testing?
No, participation in the pooled testing program is not required. However, participation is encouraged, as it will help ensure the health of our staff and students.
Individuals who are vaccinated can still participate in pooled testing.
Individuals who have previously tested positive in the past 90 days are ineligible to participate. 

How and when do I provide consent for my child?

You will be prompted to consent at the time of registration. A consent form will be displayed prior to registration and must be completed to register your account online. Consent can also be obtained at the time of testing through a manual entry by your test site administrator.

Will I be notified if my child is part of a positive pool?

Please refer to your individual school's protocol for communication around positive pools.

A positive pooled test result does not indicate that your child has been infected with COVID-19. A follow-up test is always required for each individual in a positive pool. Most schools will use the Abbott BinaxNOW Rapid Antigen Diagnostic Test for follow-up.

Will I be notified if my child receives a positive Follow-Up test?

Yes. Your child’s school will notify you of the individual follow-up test results and if your child is positive or negative and what to do in each scenario.

Will I be notified if my child is part of a negative pool?

No. If your child is part of a negative pool, they are cleared to continue attending school as normal. No further action is required.

What should I do if my child’s result is returned as invalid.

Nothing. While invalid results are rare, your school will have a protocol in place for how to re-test under these circumstances.

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