Shrewsbury schools to implement pool surveillance testing for COVID-19

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Shrewsbury Public Schools logo - Shrewsbury Public Schools will begin COVID-19 pool testing.

By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter

Shrewsbury – The Shrewsbury Public Schools will soon begin implementing COVID-19 pooled surveillance testing, according to Superintendent Dr. Joseph Sawyer.

Sawyer, along with Noelle Freeman, director of nursing, shared details about the testing process with the School Committee Jan. 20.

Pooling involves mixing several testing samples into one batch, then testing the entire batch with a diagnostic test. This approach increases the number of individuals that can be tested while minimizing the cost.

Freeman explained that if the sample is negative then it is safe to assume all involved in that pool are also negative. But if the sample comes back positive, those individuals would be separately screened to determine who was positive.

“Our plan at this point is to phase in testing,” she said. “Our hope is to begin by making testing available to all staff across the district beginning in early to mid-February and then to expand testing to students at the high school by mid to late February.”

The need for testing lower grades will be based on virus case counts.

Testing will consist of a self-administered shallow nasal swab. It will not be mandatory but will be highly encouraged.

According to Patrick Collins, assistant superintendent of operations and finance, the district is in the final phases of working out a contract with the vendor for a weekly pooled regimen. They plan to use stimulus and grant funding for this program.

There were eight new cases reported within the in-school hybrid model this past week bringing the total to 267; three of which can be traced to possible in-school exposure.

 

For more information visit the Shrewsbury Media Connection website or click here to view the full video of the Jan. 20 Shrewsbury School Committee meeting.

 

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