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!).
ONLINE CONSENT FORM: https://www.cic-health.com/
Please choose "Dedham" as the district
- Select your child's school (it defaults to the ECEC)
- Use your child's given name (not nicknames) when completing the consent form.
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 (there are some exemptions, including if an individual is fully vaccinated). Your school nurse will discuss your student’s options.
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 decide to join 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 as soon as possible. The more students participating and testing early-on, the better we can help ensure our classrooms remain as safe as they can be.
- Please note, we download lists of newly consented students from the CIC-Health database on Wednesday mornings. This is to give the school secretaries time to create the pools and the school nurses time to review the list to check for anyone who may have had a recent diagnosis of COVID (those students must be removed from pooled testing for 90 days from the date of diagnosis).
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. We are actively piloting the Test and Stay program and aim to roll that out district-wide soon.
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 and Mike Welch, Superintendent for Dedham Public Schools, conducted an online Webinar to discuss these programs in more detail on September 9, 2021. You can watch the recording here.
- Emily hosted a session for ECEC families on September 14, 2021. You can watch the recording here. (link please)
- Mike Welch, Maria Antonuccio (Director of Health Services), Emily Kadehjian, Kylee Sullivan (Director of local Dedham Board of Health), Jennifer McGowan (Principal at Greenlodge School) and Kate Duckworth (School Nurse at Greenlodge) provided an important update to families on DATE. You can view the recording here.