Northborough Southborough schools encourage students to pool test

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Public Schools of Northborough/Southborough logoBy Liz Nolan, Contributing Writer

NORTHBOROUGH/SOUTHBOROUGH – The Public Schools of Northborough Southborough has seen an overall 51 percent student participation in its COVID pool testing program. This falls short of the district’s goal to have 80 percent participation.

Although in-school transmission has been rare, there is a push for higher student participation in the weekly school pool testing. Grades 6-12 move forward with full in-person learning starting on Monday, April 26. Elementary schools already went back on March 22.

During the Northborough School Committee meeting on April 7, Director of Wellness Mary Ellen Duggan said participation had been trending upward each week before the long holiday weekend. 

Simultaneously, state COVID-19 case numbers as reported to the Department of Public Health have jumped for ages under 19. 

Duggan acknowledged the uptick in numbers.

“The Medical Advisory Team is meeting every week to look at all those numbers and keep an eye on all of the metrics to make sure it is still staying safe,” she said. 

She said that the next steps are to look at possibly incentivizing participation with raffles. She is also looking at students who signed up for the screening but have not yet participated.

A survey seeking feedback from all families is also being created. The results will capture information as to why families are participating or not.

Screening will continue over the April vacation week, as it is mandated for all athletes and students participating in in-person extracurricular activities. 

Northborough leaders present COVID-19 experiences on national stage

As work continues, Superintendent Greg Martineau said that the district was recently invited by the Centers for Disease Control to share its experiences surrounding COVID-19 testing and screening. Members of the district Medical Advisory Team, as well as Northborough Health Agent Kristin Black, presented Northborough’s work to around 1,000 community leaders across the country on April 8.

The education surrounding the screening process remains a priority for the remainder of the school year.

Additional information can be found on the District website at www.nsboro.k12.ma.us at the District Reopening page, under the COVID-19 Pooled Screening link.