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More information about COVID-19 testing in CCSD 89

Community Consolidated School District 89 will be using a surveillance saliva test to measure the rate of potential COVID-19 infection within the district’s staff and in-person student population. All students who intend to return for in-person learning must complete at least one test before returning to the building.

Students will be able to complete a test between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Monday, January 4, or 8 a.m. and noon on Tuesday, January 5. On Monday, December 21, your child’s principal will be sending a link that will allow you to schedule a time to come in on January 4 or January 5 for testing. 

Please don’t eat or drink 30 minutes prior to the test. If you or your child are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, please do not come for testing. The district will arrange a separate time for testing.

All saliva samples are de-identified before being sent for screening. Only the district staff can match the test result with the student. Because each test must be bar-coded at that school, parents with students in more than one school will need to schedule a time for each school. Each family should bring a signed consent form (www.ccsd89.org/CovidConsent) for each student to the first test.

Results from the initial round of student and staff testing will be available no later than Thursday, January 7. Anyone who has a clinically significant finding will be contacted by the school. The overall positivity rate for the district will be shared via email and posted on the district’s website.

If the test results show that the schools can open safely, in-person learning would be available to all CCSD 89 students on Monday, January 11. If you would like to change the in-person or remote learning selection your student was participating in prior to the adaptive pause, please contact your school’s principal.

It is important to note that this testing provides another layer of mitigation in the schools; it does not erase the need for other mitigation (masks, social distancing, hand washing/sanitizing, frequent cleaning). The testing is an opportunity to identify staff or students who might potentially be positive for COVID-19 but not showing symptoms.

All of the district’s other mitigation strategies will still be used during in-person learning. Students will still have to learn remotely if they are COVID-19 positive, have COVID-19 symptoms, or have been in contact with someone known to be positive for COVID-19. Staff would also be excluded for the same reasons.

Resources

View a video with more information about testing here: https://youtu.be/JTREKbtNznQ

Read frequently asked questions about testing in CCSD 89: www.ccsd89.org/CovidTestFAQ

Latest CCSD 89 COVID-19 information: www.ccsd89.org/COVID

DuPage County health metrics: www.ccsd89.org/Page/8934

CCSD 89 COVID-19 notifications: www.ccsd89.org/notify

Print a COVID-19 saliva surveillance consent form: www.ccsd89.org/CovidConsent

Research on the RT-LAMP COVID-19 detection (the type of test used by SafeGuard): https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S266605392030014X

https://stm.sciencemag.org/content/12/556/eabc7075

https://bit.ly/3r91hXa 

About the test

CCSD 89 will be administering a test made by SafeGuard Surveillance LLC (www.safeguardscreeningllc.com). The test requires each participant to fill about one-third of a 1-½ inch tube with saliva (see image: https://bit.ly/2WrZIpc). CCSD 89 nursing staff will assist with the collection of the saliva samples.

Collection will be done in an open area with all students at least 10 feet apart. Staff will be wearing proper personal protective equipment and custodial staff will wipe down the area between each sample.

After collection, the vial will be sent to SafeGuard for screening that will indicate the potential presence of COVID-19. 

CCSD 89 staff created randomized bar code labels that will be placed on each vial prior to the student completing the test. SafeGuard will report findings to the school nursing staff. The school staff will then match the report to the student’s name. At no time will SafeGuard know the name of the student or staff member associated with the sample.

After the sample is completed, the remainder of the saliva is destroyed. No further testing is run on the saliva by SafeGuard or the district. No information related to anything besides the COVID-19 testing will be collected or tested by SafeGuard or the district.

This test is used for surveillance purposes to measure potential spread in the district. The test does not give a diagnosis for COVID-19. The SafeGuard test has high sensitivity and specificity. However, because samples are de-identified results are reported as a “finding of potential clinical significance” rather than a diagnosis.

Students or staff who have a clinically significant finding would be quarantined out of the building and would need a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test for a diagnosis. This can help reduce spread within schools by quarantining asymptomatic people who could be inadvertently spreading COVID-19.

The district cannot provide diagnostic testing to all students; diagnostic tests cost at least five times as much as surveillance tests

You can read more about the testing at www.safeguardscreeningllc.com

Taking the test

On January 4 and January 5, students will go to their school to provide an initial sample. It is important the student not eat, drink, or brush their teeth for 30 minutes prior to the test.

Families should bring a consent form for each student (www.ccsd89.org/CovidConsent). Additional forms will be available at the school if you are not able to print one. Families will only need to fill out the consent form once.

Each student will be handed a vial with the de-identified label on it. The student will move to a desk where they will spit or drool into the tube. The student will then close the tube until they hear a snap, and wipe down the tube with a paper towel that is provided. The student will give the tube back to the nurse. Finally, the students will wash or sanitize their hands.

It takes most students less than two minutes to provide the saliva. If they are having trouble producing saliva, students can try the following:

-    Close their mouth and wiggle their tongue

-    Make chewing motions

-    Imagine eating or smelling their favorite food

-    Gently rub the outside of their cheeks, just behind the back teeth

Some nasal swab tests will also be available to in-person students that cannot complete a saliva test.

Who takes the test?

All in-person students and all staff would take the test on January 4 or January 5, and again on January 11. After January 12, only middle-school students, staff, and students who eat lunch at school would be tested every week. Elementary students would not be tested weekly after January 12 because they do not eat in the building and are in static groups that don’t mix during the day.

Tests are not available to families who are participating in remote learning. If a student would like to switch from remote to in-person learning, they should contact their school’s principal. Students will need to complete a test and provide a consent form prior to moving to in-person learning.

Families will not be charged for the test. 

Selecting a testing method

The district spoke with multiple districts about their testing plans and talked to multiple vendors. The district heard formal presentations from four companies that offered multiple types of COVID-19 testing.

The tests were evaluated for reliability, cost, availability, logistics, turnaround time, equity, and certifications. You can see the board presentation here: https://bit.ly/3gVmrn0 

The district also consulted on all options with Dr. Jessica McIntyre, a CCSD 89 parent who is an associate professor in family medicine at Loyola University and helped the university develop protocols for in-person learning; Dr. Giselle Sandi-Tapia, Deputy Division Director at Argonne National Laboratory and an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Microbial Pathogens and Immunity at Rush University; and Dr. Mark Dworkin, the associate director of epidemiology at University of Illinois-Chicago School of Public Health.

This testing is already being successfully used in multiple school districts, including Glen Ellyn District 41, New Trier High School, and LaGrange District 102.

The Board of Education unanimously approved the testing at a meeting on December 14.

Posted: December 18, 2020