School-based Testing Frequently Asked Questions

(January 4, 2020)

What test is being used and who is administering the tests? 

The state is providing school districts with the COVID-19 Abbott Labs BinaxNOW Ag rapid test card, administration of which will be overseen by our school nurses. Tests will only be given to students for whom we have received parental consent. The testing process will involve inserting a small swab, similar to a Q-Tip, into the lowermost portion of both nostrils. This is NOT the deep nasal swab test that is performed at medical facilities.

How do I consent to have my child tested at school?  

Please complete the parent consent form emailed to you by the District in early January.

Why is the rapid test being used?

The tests would be used to monitor students and staff who are asymptomatic. Rapid tests detect protein fragments specific to the Coronavirus, are non-invasive, and the results are available in about 15 minutes. The different PCR test detects RNA that is specific to the virus and are the more invasive “deep sinus” variety that have a much longer turnaround time.

How many people need to be tested each week to keep schools open? 

Schools designated as being in microcluster zones are required to test 20% of in-person learners and school staff over a 2-week period. If we are unable to meet the testing requirements, it is our understanding that we must switch to fully-remote instruction.

Can I be present when my child is tested? 

No. Parents and guardians can not be present for testing at school as we must limit the number of people within our school buildings.

What if I prefer to get my child tested offsite? 

You can get your child tested by your healthcare provider or at any testing site. In order for those tests to count toward the 20% threshold, results need to be provided to your school nurse within a week. If it is your intention to test offsite, please notify the school and indicate when your child will be tested.

If I do not consent to testing, will my child need to switch to fully-remote instruction?  

No, your child can continue to be part of the in-person learning model as long as we have enough volunteers. If we do not reach the 20% benchmark, all students may be forced into fully-remote instruction.

Can the school test parents or family members too? 

No, schools only get enough tests to accommodate our school population.

Does my remote-only student need to be tested?

No. The state only requires that in-person learners and staff be tested. 

What happens if my child tests positive? 

If your child tests positive, you will be notified that he or she will be sent home, asked to quarantine, and will need to follow up with your health care provider for a PCR test. In addition, we will share information with the Columbia County Department of Health.