• COVID-19 Testing

  • COVID-19 Testing
    Like the ever-changing dynamics of COVID-19, testing options have also changed. On-campus, we continue to use the BinaxNOW test, which is a rapid antigen test that is most accurate when a person is tested in the early stages of infection with COVID-19. The goal is to rapidly identify symptomatic individuals with COVID-19 so that appropriate isolation can begin quickly. 

    It's important to know that the BinaxNOW test will be used on symptomatic individuals to screen for COVID-19 and that it is a voluntary program. A consent form, which is located in the sidebar, must be completed before the test can be administered to a student or staff member. The test will be performed by our school nurses or the SBH nurse practitioner.

    For at-home use, we have adopted iHealth, the new weekly at-home testing option which may be self-administered and does not need to be proctored or performed by a healthcare professional. If you choose to self-test, we ask that you write your teen's name and the date and time the test was administered, then e-mail a picture of a positive test result to our school nurses.


  • Symptomatic Testing
    Any staff or student, whether vaccinated or not, that develops any of the symptoms below during the school day should be evaluated by the school nurse. As a reminder, staff and students who wake up with symptoms of illness should NOT come to school. Nor should they come to school to have a COVID test. If you are unsure, please call our Health Line. It is open from 6:15 to 7:15 a.m. every morning.

    COVID-19 Symptoms
    • Fever (100.0 degrees Fahrenheit or higher), chills or shaking chills 
    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Muscle aches or body aches
    • Cough (not due to other known causes, such as a chronic cough)
    • Sore throat when in combination with other symptoms
    • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea when in combination with other symptoms
    • Headache when in combination with other symptoms
    • Fatigue when in combination with other symptoms
    • Nasal congestion or runny nose (not due to other known causes, such as allergies)
       when in combination with other symptoms

    Staff or students who develop MODERATE SYMPTOMS at school
    This is a COMBINATION of any of the above symptoms. They can receive a BinaxNOW test
    in the nurses' suite before going home. They may return to school when they: 
    • Have resolution or improvement of symptoms. 
    Have been fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of Tylenol or Ibuprofen
    It is strongly recommended that individuals receive a negative PCR or antigen test
       result for COVID-19 as long as the individual is not a close contact. If a medical
       professional makes an alternative diagnosis for the COVID-19-like symptoms, the
       individual may use this recommendation (e.g., influenza or strep throat) in lieu of
       a PCR or antigen test.
    Staff or students who have MILD SYMPTOMS at school
    This is any SINGLE symptom: cough, sore throat, nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, headache,
    fatigue, or nasal congestion/runny nose not due to other known causes, such as allergies.
    They can receive a BinaxNOW test in the nurses' suite. 
    • If the result is positive, they will be dismissed and follow these self-isolation guidelines.
    • If the result is negative, they can remain in school.
    • If the minimal symptom(s) persist, staff or students may be re-tested within the next
       3 days. If symptoms worsen, they should seek medical care and be evaluated for
       the need for molecular/PCR testing.  

    Staff or students who test POSITIVE:  
    • Must follow these self-isolation guidelines.

  • Weekly At-Home Antigen Tests 
    The Test & Stay protocol will no longer be in place. We have adopted the new testing option from DESE and DPH, which will run through April 22nd. At that time, DESE and DPH will re-evaluate the program. This option provides at-home rapid antigen tests for all staff and students both vaccinated and unvaccinated, who opt-in. You can opt-in or -out at any time. Please contact the Main Office if you are opting out. This is a voluntary program and consent is not required. 

    About the test:  
    • Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days are exempt from testing
    iHealth is a 15-minute at-home FDA approved rapid antigen test
    • Check out this COVID-19 Self-Test at Home Guide in various languages
    • Check out this how-to video for self-testing using the iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test
    • Each person will receive one iHealth kit, which includes two tests.
    • Store kits between 36 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit
    • Before use, the test should be at room temperature between 65 – 86 degrees Fahrenheit
    • Staff and students will receive their test kit every two weeks alternately
    • We will post the day of pick up and location once logistics are finalized
    • Testing should occur weekly, either on Sunday evenings or first thing Monday morning
       before coming to school



  • Online Testing Consent 
     


    BinaxNOW COVID-19 Testing
    Whether staff or student, consent
    for the BinaxNOW COVID-19 testing,
    can be completed through CIC Health.


    QUESTIONS?
    If you have any questions or concerns
    regarding COVID-19 testing, feel free
    to contact our school nurses:
     
    Kathy Pichel, RN
    Nurse Leader
    508–529–7758  x3006
    kpichel@valleytech.k12.ma.us

    Stephanie Dunham, RN
    School Nurse
    508–529–7758  x3005
    sdunham@valleytech.k12.ma.us