Dear Northshore Families,
As many students and staff have begun the transition back to in-person instruction, we remain committed to health and safety during this pandemic. Keeping Northshore School District school buildings open depends on awareness of and immediate action on any COVID-19 concerns in our buildings. To do this, we need students and staff in our buildings to get tested as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Evidence has shown that someone who is infected with COVID-19 can be asymptomatic and still transmit the virus to others. Through regular testing and contact tracing, our goal is to stop any spread so that our schools remain open.
On Friday, April 9, the District will pilot COVID-19 testing at four elementary schools for students in grades 2-5: Sunrise, Kokanee, Crystal Springs and Moorlands. Principals of those schools sent more specific information to their schools on Wednesday. Testing will be expanded for all students in grades 2 and above beginning the week of April 19. We will use a similar testing protocol that has been used for athletics since February. In this letter, you will find details about this easy, minimally invasive test, the prioritization of privacy, the process, and consent and opt-out forms. We ask you to review this information carefully and join us in our commitment to keeping every student, staff and community member safe by giving your consent. Your principal will follow up with an email with the unique school code for consent as well as a link to opt out.
Batch or Pool Testing – self-administered with a trained adult observing
Pooling—sometimes referred to as batch or pool testing or pooled testing—means combining respiratory samples from several people and conducting one laboratory test on the combined pool of samples to detect SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The test provider that is currently being used is https://www.concentricbyginkgo.com/families/
This type of testing provides privacy for each individual. If further confirmatory testing is required, every individual’s privacy will be protected throughout the process, including during contact tracing as we work to minimize the spread. Over the past year, the District has protected the privacy of families and staff members who have reported their own COVID illnesses in an effort to protect our community.
At the elementary level, each classroom will be a cohort for pool testing. In middle and high school, each first period class will be tested. The test will be self-administered by each student and adult in the classroom, while a trained teacher or COVID supervisor observes. Instead of the “long swab” that goes in the back of the nose, this test is a short, small swab (like a Q-Tip) that goes just in the front of the nose. You can learn more about this type of testing by visiting the CDC’s website.
Pool Test Results:
Test results will be provided to the District within 48 hours. If a cohort or first period class’ result is negative, those students and staff will continue in the regular hybrid instruction model. If a positive test is found in the sample, everyone in that sample will be notified of the need to quarantine and engage in 100% remote learning for 14 days from the date of the test. This includes students and staff in that cohort or first period class who opted out. Fully vaccinated staff are excluded from the quarantine requirement.
The cohort or first period class where a positive test is found will be asked to complete a confirmatory test. Everyone will receive at least a 24-hour notice with time and location and other details for the confirmatory test, which will be at a central District site. Families will be able to set up their own account to submit their insurance information and receive confirmatory testing results. Families and staff members are welcome to seek their own confirmatory testing. They will need to provide an official document from a credible provider on their letterhead that has the date of the test, student’s name and a clear negative result. If all confirmatory tests for that cohort or first period class return negative, students and staff may return to school.
The confirmatory test is important as it allows the District to conduct contact tracing and notify those who have been exposed. This will help minimize the spread of COVID-19, especially with the more infectious variants present in our region.
*The District will have a dashboard on the nsd.org website with general testing and results information. More information to come.
How to Complete a Consent Form
For the health and safety of our students and staff, we are asking families to complete a consent form. Your principal will email the link to the consent form as well as the unique school code needed to complete it. Having your child tested for COVID-19 in school is quick and easy. If you have already submitted consent, we encourage you to do so again to ensure your student has the latest form on file.
How to Opt Out
Families who wish to opt out of batch testing may complete the form at the link which will be sent by your principal. If a student or staff member is opted out of testing, but their classroom cohort or first period class has a positive COVID test result, they will still be required to quarantine for 14 days.
(Emailed from Northshore Communications on 4/9/2021)