What is pool testing?
Rather than test each individual student and employee separately, a time and resource intensive process, samples will be combined—or pooled—to cut down on the number of tests. Different types of samples could theoretically be pooled. In this case, we will be using a nasal swab. If one person within a pool of <=10 swab samples tests positive, the entire pool is flagged as positive and subsequent testing is enacted to discern which individual(s) within the pool was the positive case.
Why is WPS using COVID-19 pool testing?
Pool testing can identify and isolate asymptomatic carriers of the COVID-19 virus, thus enhancing the health and safety of those in the WPS buildings. This protocol will allow us to minimize the presence of the COVID-19 virus on our campuses and maximize our ability to remain open for on-site learning and engagement throughout the 2020-21 academic year. This is another layer of response and mitigation for our community. We will continue to monitor and maintain all CDC health and safety recommended protocols throughout the 2020-2021 academic year, as well.
What is the difference between surveillance, screening, and diagnostic testing for COVID-19 testing?
Surveillance for COVID-19 includes ongoing systematic activities, including collection, analysis, and interpretation of health-related data, essential to planning, implementing, and evaluating public health practice. It is generally used to monitor for an occurrence, such as an infectious disease outbreak, in a population or community, or to characterize the occurrence once detected, such as looking at the incidence and prevalence of the occurrence. Surveillance testing is primarily used to gain information at a population level, rather than an individual level. Surveillance testing may be random sampling of a certain percentage of a specific population to monitor for increasing or decreasing prevalence and determining the population effect from community interventions such as social distancing. The FDA generally does not regulate surveillance testing.
Screening for COVID-19 is looking for occurrence at the individual level even if there is no individual reason to suspect infection such as a known exposure. This includes broad screening of asymptomatic individuals without known exposure with the intent of making individual decisions based on the test results. Screening tests are intended to identify infected individuals prior to development of symptoms or those infected individuals without signs or symptoms who may be contagious, so that measures can be taken to prevent those individuals from infecting others. FDA regulates screening tests as in vitro diagnostic devices and has provided recommendations and information regarding Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) requests for COVID-19 screening tests in the Policy for Coronavirus Disease-2019 Tests and the EUA templates referenced in that Policy. Examples of screening include the baseline testing of staff conducted prior to the start of in person learning for grades K-2, 6, and 9, or the testing plans developed by a workplace to test all employees returning to the workplace regardless of exposure or signs and symptoms and testing plans developed by a school to test all students and faculty returning to the school regardless of exposure or signs and symptoms, with the intent of using those results to determine who may return or what protective measures to take on an individual basis. 
Diagnostic testing for COVID-19 is also looking for occurrence at the individual level but is performed when there is a particular reason to suspect that an individual may be infected. Diagnostic tests are intended to diagnose an infection in patients suspected of COVID-19 by their healthcare provider such as in symptomatic individuals, individuals who have had a recent exposure, individuals who are in a high-risk group such as healthcare providers with known exposure, or testing to determine resolution of infection. Diagnostic tests may also be appropriate in areas of high community spread, at the discretion of the ordering healthcare provider. FDA regulates diagnostic tests as in vitro diagnostic devices and has provided recommendations and information regarding EUA requests for COVID-19 diagnostic tests in the Policy for Coronavirus Disease-2019 Tests and the EUA templates referenced in that Policy. Examples of diagnostic testing include testing symptomatic individuals presenting to their healthcare provider, testing individuals who indicate that they were exposed to an individual with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, and testing all individuals present at an event where an attendee was later confirmed to have COVID-19.
  1. Each swab will come individually wrapped and must be unpackaged to use.

  2. Grabbing the plastic end, insert the cotton tip in to the nare until the cotton tip is no longer visible and rotate four times per nostril. Swab should not go beyond the trurbinate.

  3. Sample collection will be observed by WPS Staff

  4. Place the swab into the tube, swab side down

  5. Sanitize hands and return to class.


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