Information on COVID-19 Testing

Alexander Wolff

Dear Middle School/High School Families,

Beginning in February, the District has piloted a new COVID-19 surveillance testing program. The goal of surveillance testing is to establish a baseline positivity rate among our students and staff and then continue to monitor these results along with other data to determine whether the virus is spreading in our schools. This is especially important as we phase more students back in for in-person instruction starting in April. 

For this program to be effective and successful, it is essential that we test a random sampling of students and staff every week. Our target is to test approximately 20% of our school population each month, or about 5% every week. 

It is our expectation that all students will participate in this program. To ensure that we have a broad and random sample of students being tested each week, we are making changes to the program at the middle and high school level. The elementary schools will continue to use PickaTime to sign up for testing appointments. 

All MS/HS families whose children are participating in the hybrid or in-person models, or who are fully virtual but participate in on-campus activities such as athletics or other extracurricular activities are asked to complete the Testing Consent Form and return it to your school’s main office. Alternatively, the completed forms can be scanned and returned via email to Lynsey Tuthill (ltuthill@pelhamschools.org) at the high school or Barbara Bugoni (bbugoni@pelhamschools.org) at the middle school.

Students will be selected at random for testing on Wednesday afternoons when there is an early dismissal. When your child is selected for testing, you will be notified via email by your school with the specific date, time, and additional instructions. Below, please find some more information about this testing program, which you may find helpful. 

  • The District uses the BinaxNow COVID-19 Rapid Tests provided by the state. This is a minimally invasive nasal swab test. Please view this video of Dr. Champ being tested so you can see how the test is performed. 

  • School nurses will perform the tests

  • If the result is negative, families will be informed via email at the end of the day. If the result is positive, families will receive a call from your school nurse or Julia Chung, the District’s COVID-19 Coordinator.

  • The District will share aggregate results on the District website, but individual test results will be kept confidential. 

As a reminder, families should continue to report their children’s positive COVID-19 test results (confirmed by outside testing organizations) using this Google Form.

We are excited to be able to offer this COVID-19 testing program and believe it is an essential tool in keeping our schools safe as we take the next step of returning additional students to in-person instruction and thank our students, families and staff for your cooperation and continued support.

Sincerely,

The Pelham Public Schools

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