Northborough/Southborough Public Schools continue steps towards full in-person learning

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By Liz Nolan, Contributing Writer

Public Schools of Northborough/Southborough logo

Northborough/Southborough – The Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough continue their efforts to identify positive COVID-19 cases early to stop the spread. The ultimate goal is to get more students safely back into the classrooms. The hope is to start pool testing for all students and staff by early February.

Pool testing is a technique where individual samples are bundled at the lab for testing. If there is a positive result within that pool, each member of the pool will be retested. The infection source can be pinpointed without having to collect new samples.

Students will be given a take home nasal swab test with instructions. It should be done the morning they return to school.

The funding for these tests is being subsidized by the towns’ CARES Act. The school district plans to pilot the testing at one school before rolling it out to all its schools.

“We would like to have a real good estimate of what is going on in the schools,” said District Wellness Coordinator Mary Ellen Duggan. “You want to have about 80 percent of the population in the screening.”

The weekly testing is voluntary, but testing is a big part of the route to get back to additional in-person learning.

“It is our responsibility to plan and prepare and make good decisions based on good data and this testing will allow us to do that,” said Superintendent Greg Martineau.

The testing, vaccine rollout and all other mitigation efforts will help the district think about their next steps.

Another effort moving forward is the District’s partnership with Cannon Design. Director of Operations Keith Lavoie said the company’s tool will calculate the number of students who can fit in each classroom while maintaining safe distancing. All different factors will be considered as part of that calculation and determination.

“It’s another tool in the toolbox that will help our ultimate goal of getting back to full in-person learning,” he said.

 

 

 

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