About the COVID Safety Check Programs
This year, the State of Massachusetts contracted with a sole vendor (CIC-Health) to provide all school districts with COVID Safety Checks (formerly pooled testing) & more. This is a switch in vendors for our district from our pooled testing program last year. We are working with CIC-Health to ensure that they can support all of our anticipated testing efforts this year.
Starting in September, Dedham will begin rolling-out Weekly Routine COVID Safety Checks (pooled testing):
- This is very similar to the testing we did last year. Students (for whom parents have provided consent) and consented staff are tested by nasal swab weekly, in school, and groups of swabs are collected and tested. If a pool returns as “Positive” members in that group are re-tested individually to follow up. You must provide consent for your child to participate in this program (even if you did last year!).
UPDATE - SEPT 16:
Last night the Dedham School Committee approved the district’s participation in the DPH/DESE “Test and Stay” program. This will allow students who are determined to be close contacts to take a rapid antigen test in school to confirm they are safe before returning to class. In order to participate, students MUST have a consent on file with the school.
We are not yet ready to roll out the “Test and Stay” program at all our schools, and we will be piloting the process in targeted instances over the next week or so. Please be patient while we prepare to ramp up all aspects of the COVID-19 screening testing across the district as this is a logistical, technical, and communications challenge on many levels.
- Given we are not yet ready to start Symptomatic Testing and the Test and Stay program District-wide, staff and students will be sent home if they are exhibiting COVID symptoms or if they are designated as a “close contact” and will need to follow appropriate testing and/or quarantining protocols.
- Students are not OBLIGATED to participate in the weekly pooled testing, even if consent is provided.
- No disciplinary repercussions will be taken if a student signed up to participate in weekly pooled testing chooses not to participate that day.
- You CAN opt-in to the program at any time.
- You may OPT-OUT of the programs at any time, but once consent has been removed, it is difficult to re-join the programs in the future.
IN ORDER TO PARTICIPATE:
In order to participate, you must provide consent – even if you provided consent last year. Consent forms must be completed for EACH student participating.
Please be sure to select the correct school for your child (the screen defaults to ECEC).
The state-wide consent form (which we cannot change) is asking you to consent to all types of testing offered by the state this year. This is by design, to avoid the need to reach out for consent multiple times, should a school district decide to add more testing options later on. You always have the opportunity to opt-out at any time by contacting Emily Kadehjian, our District COVID Testing Coordinator at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in having your student participate – please complete the consent form THIS WEEK, if possible. The more students participating and testing early-on, the better we can help ensure our classrooms remain as safe as they can be.
Important Notes about the Consent Form:
- You can choose to participate and complete the consent forms AT ANY TIME, though we ask that if you are interested in participating, please complete the forms as soon as possible.
- The online consent formis available in English and offers translation into many other languages.
- Hard copies of the form in multiple languages can be printed from the DPS website and returned to your student’s school.
- By completing this consent form, you are consenting that you understand that your student’s information is being transmitted via provided technology. All technology transmissions are secure and in compliance with data privacy laws.
- These consent forms have been designed for State-wide use, accommodating several different kinds of testing. Please note, the form mentions saliva-based testing; Dedham Public Schools WILL NOT use saliva testing. We will be using shallow nasal swab testing. At this time, DPS will be rolling out Pooled Testing only.
PDF Consent Forms can be found below - in a variety of languages. Please print these forms, complete them for your student and return the signed document to your student's teacher.
QUESTIONS? WANT TO LEARN MORE?
Emily Kadehjian, the District COVID Testing Coordinator will conduct an online Webinar to discuss these programs in more detail on September 9, 2021 at 7PM.
Emily will host a session for ECEC families on September 14, 2021 at 7 PM. Principal Taylor will be sending out more details about that webinar.
Links to the webinar and recordings of the session will be available on the Dedham Public Schools Website.
If you have specific questions, please contact Emily at: email@example.com
OTHER PROGRAMS DPS MAY INTRODUCE LATER IN THE FALL:
Pending vendor solutions and School Committee discussion
- Symptomatic Testing: Symptomatic tests allow school nurses to test staff or students who are in school and appear to have symptoms that may indicate COVID. Instead of sending them home immediately, they will be tested with the BinaxNOW rapid antigen test, and can return to class if it is Negative.
- Test and Stay Program: If a staff member or student is designated as a school-based “close contact” (not a household close contact) having been possibly exposed to COVID, they have previously been asked to quarantine at home. Test and Stay allows them to remain in school while participating in DAILY BinaxNOW rapid antigen testing (for a period of 7 days (5 “in school” testing days), no testing on weekends; eMed at-home weekend testing for athletes or those with extra-curricular activities). As long as the test returns Negative, they can be in the classroom.