New DESE funded COVID-19 Testing Program

 

During the 2020-21 school year, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) introduced COVID19 screening and diagnostic testing in the school setting as an additional mitigation strategy for COVID-19, the first program of its kind nationwide. 

 

As noted in the DESE/DPH COVID-19 Guidance for Districts and Schools: Fall 2021 released on July 30, 2021, districts and schools are highly encouraged to maintain or establish a robust plan for COVID-19 testing in schools, including both diagnostic testing and routine (weekly) COVID pooled testing. Diagnostic testing is an important tool for use in testing asymptomatic close contacts as part of the updated “Test and Stay” COVID-19 response protocols.

 

Following a competitive procurement process, EOHHS and DESE are making diagnostic and routine (weekly) COVID pooled testing services available under a single contract with the testing provider CIC Health.

 

Westood Public School Testing Methods:

 

“Test and Stay” (close contact testing): Shallow nasal swab samples are collected at school using the BinaxNOW rapid antigen test or another approved diagnostic test. Tests are administered daily from the first day of exposure for at least five (7) days. Accepted by WPS District. Process and schedule for "Test to Stay" testing remains under design

 

Routine COVID Pooled Testing and Lab-Based Follow-Up Testing: Shallow nasal swab or saliva samples are collected and kept separate before being grouped at the lab. If a group tests positive, individual Follow-Up testing occurs at the lab, without a second sample collection. Individual test results are reported to the school. Accepted by WPS District. Process and schedule for Routine COVID-19 Pooled Testing remains under design.

 

Symptomatic Testing: Westwood Public Schools does not offer rapid testing of symptomatic students and staff at this time.  Students and staff who are symptomatic should follow DPH protocols.  

 

Resources on COVID-19 Testing:

CDC Guidance on Fully Vaccinated Individuals

MA DOE DESE COVID Testing Webiste 

DESE COVID-19 Protocal Flowcharts

 

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