FAQ
  • Frequently Asked Questions for the COVID-19 Testing Programs & Reporting 

    updated January 9, 2022

     

     

Jan 2022 -Most Recently Asked Questions

General Questions

  • When I provide consent for my child to participate, where is my child’s data being stored?

    Posted by:

    When you sign the consent form, data including your child’s name, DOB, gender, race, ethnicity, address, parent name, and parent phone number are entered into CIC-Health’s secure platform (our vendor).  These data will be stored and shared in accordance with HIPAA rules.

    Given our testing modality, CIC-Health does not know whose samples are included in the pools; those data are located on the secure Dedham Public School network.  The only people that have access to the pool assignment data are the Site Coordinators (school secretaries & nurses), Principals, and the District COVID Testing Coordinator.  We use these data to contact individuals in the event the pooled test comes back with a positive result and we need to arrange follow-up testing.

    (DPS)

    Comments (-1)
  • Can public school districts mandate COVID-19 testing?

    Posted by:

    No, participation in testing is optional and parents/guardians must provide informed consent to participate in the program. 

    Comments (-1)
  • Is this program open to pre-K (and under) students?

    Posted by:

    District-run pre-K programs that are located in the same physical location as a K-12 school may participate in the program.  

     

    DPS:  Students in Pre-K at the ECEC and the DELTA program (located within the high school) may participate in the program.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Do schools/districts bear any costs associated with the COVID-19 testing program?

    Posted by:

    All services described in the SY22 COVID-19 Testing Program Memo, August 11, 2021 and SY22 COVID-19 Testing Program Webinar Slides, August 11, 2021 are provided free of charge to participating schools/districts. Schools and districts are responsible for any other costs associated with this testing program.

    Comments (-1)
  • Is it called "routine COVID pooled testing" or "routine COVID safety checks"?

    Posted by:

    The testing strategy known as “Pooled Testing” is now referred to by DESE as “Routine COVID Pooled Testing” for districts and schools. DESE conducted focus groups with representative groups of parents/guardians to identify barriers to participation. A key takeaway was that the phrase “pooled testing” did not engender trust – parents were led to believe that their students would be kept out of school. They equated the word “pooled” to “random” which sounded inaccurate and inefficient. Using the phrase “Routine COVID Safety Checks” produced positive reactions from the focus group. Participants found that this phrase promoted the welfare of students and was less intimidating than being “tested” each week. DESE recommends that all parent/guardian facing materials (parent letter, consent form/district website information) use this phrase, Routine COVID Safety Checks. (DESE)

    Comments (-1)
  • Can schools/districts change testing modes during the school year?

    Posted by:

    Yes. A school/district may choose to add or subtract a testing mode at any point during the school year by coordinating with their program coordinator at CIC Health.  (DESE)

    Comments (-1)
  • Can schools/districts choose different testing for different schools within a district?

    Posted by:

    Yes. A district may choose to implement different modes of the DESE testing program at different schools within a district.  (DESE)

    Comments (-1)
  • How many different kinds of testing are going on around the state?

    Posted by:

    There are three main components to the testing program state-wide this year.  Schools may choose to participate in any or all of these modes of testing:

    • Routine COVID Safety Checks (“pooled testing”)
    • Symptomatic Testing
    • Test and Stay 
    Comments (-1)
  • Who is the vendor that we are working with for COVID testing this year?

    Posted by:

    CIC-Health.  

    Following a competitive procurement process, EOHHS and DESE are making diagnostic and routine (weekly) COVID pooled testing services available at no cost to participating districts and schools through the end of the 2021-22 school year, under a single contract with the testing provider CIC Health.  (DESE)

    Comments (-1)

Routine COVID Safety Checks (“Pooled Testing”) Questions

  • Who conducts Routine COVID Safety Checks (“pooled testing”) within Dedham Public Schools?

    Posted by:

    At this time, DPS substitute school nurses, school nurses, and the District COVID Testing Coordinator oversee Routine COVID Safety Checks in our schools.

    Children in Grades 1 and above are usually able to complete the nasal swab themselves.  Those in Pre-K and Kindergarten or those with special needs will be swabbed by one of the trained professionals mentioned above.

    Many schools in the state are using CIC Health Support Staff for Routine COVID Safety Checks.  At this time, Dedham has chosen to utilize internal resources only to staff this aspect of our testing program.

    Comments (-1)
  • What if I want my child to participate in testing, but they had COVID over the summer?

    Posted by:

    Please contact your school nurse.

    Comments (-1)
  • If a student previously had COVID-19, should they participate in routine COVID pooled testing?

    Posted by:

    Individuals who have previously tested positive (on an individual, not pooled, test) in the past 90 days should be excluded.  After 90 days, they should be included again in the pools. 

    Comments (-1)
  • Can a school choose which routine COVID pooled testing methodology it prefers?

    Posted by:

    Yes. A school/district may choose the routine COVID pooled testing methodology that is most appropriate for its school/district.

    (DPS) At this time, Dedham Public Schools has chosen:  Routine COVID Pooled Testing and School-Based Follow-Up Testing

    Comments (-1)
  • Where are the samples for routine COVID pooled testing processed?

    Posted by:

    The samples are processed at either the Broad Institute or Veritas Genetics.  

    (DPS) Dedham Public Schools’ samples are processed at the Broad Institute.

    Comments (-1)
  • What happens if my child is part of a positive pool?

    Posted by:

    You will receive a call from the school nurse or Principal letting you know your child is in a positive pool and instructions regarding follow-up testing.

    If the pooled testing lab results came back in the evening or early morning hours, we will likely conduct a drive-through testing line. The school nurse will approach your vehicle and perform the nasal swab on your child.  The test itself will be run inside the building.  Results are available within 15 minutes, but, pending the results, the school nurse, principal, and teachers may need to conduct contact tracing.

    Parents will be called with the results of the BinaxNOW test and contact tracing.  If your child is:

    Positive:  your child will need to stay home and begin isolation and quarantine protocols
    Negative, but a school-based close contact:  The school nurse will discuss your options:
     

    Test and Stay (when the program is up and running across the district)
     

    Traditional quarantine protocols for close contacts
    Negative, not a school-based close contact:  your child may return to class
    If results come back during the school day, students will come down to the nurse’s office for a BinaxNOW rapid antigen test.  Parents will be called with the results of the BinaxNOW test and contact tracing.

    Comments (-1)
  • How will I know the results of my child’s Routine COVID Safety Checks (“pooled tests”) each week?

    Posted by:

    No news is good news.  If you do not hear anything, it means your child’s pooled test came back negative.  If your child is in a pool that comes back with a positive result, you will get a call from the school (e.g. Principal or Nurse) explaining the need for follow-up testing.  S/he will give you the time and location for follow-up testing during that call.  If you cannot be reached via phone, you will receive an email asking you to call back as soon as possible.

    Comments (-1)
  • Does routine pooled testing even work?

    Posted by:

    Yes; the pooled test is very effective at finding COVID-19.  When compared to the “gold standard” individual PCR test (the deep nasal swab test), pooled testing gets the same result 96% of the time.

    In our own pooled testing program we have already identified positive pools and the BinaxNOW rapid antigen follow-up test helped us identify individuals with COVID-19 and activate the appropriate quarantining and contact-tracing protocols.

     

    Comments (-1)
  • My child feels fine and is not showing any signs of COVID-19, why should she/he/they test?

    Posted by:

    We know that COVID-19 can be spread by people who have it but don’t know it – they are not showing any signs or symptoms (asymptomatic).  The pooled testing can help us detect asymptomatic cases and help prevent further spread by someone who may not even realize they could be spreading COVID-19.  This is another important layer of protection for our school communities.

    Comments (-1)
  • What is the turnaround time for the routine COVID pooled tests?

    Posted by:

    The turnaround time for pooled tests is approximately 24 hours from the time of specimen collection to results being reported. 

    Comments (-1)
  • How often will my child participate in Routine COVID Safety Checks?

    Posted by:

    Once per week.

    Comments (-1)
  • What type of Routine COVID Safety Checks is Dedham doing?

    Posted by:

    Dedham Public Schools are participating in Routine COVID Pooled Testing and School-Based Follow-Up Testing: a single sample is collected at school; If a pool is positive, follow-up testing at school with either BinaxNOW and/or individual PCR testing as necessary​ (if the BinaxNOW does not detect a positive individual in a positive pool)

    • Samples are collected through a nasal swab
    • Samples must be collected at school. Students may collect through observed self-collection
    • Samples are processed at the Broad Institute
    • A maximum of ten samples are included in each pool
    Comments (-1)
  • What type of testing methodologies are available for routine pooled testing?

    Posted by:

    There are three testing methodologies offered for routine pooled testing: 

     

    1. Routine COVID Pooled Testing and School-Based Follow-Up Testing: a single sample is collected at school; If a pool is positive, follow-up testing at school with either BinaxNOW and/or individual PCR testing as necessary​ (if the BinaxNOW does not detect a positive individual in a positive pool)
      • Samples are collected through a nasal swab
      • Samples must be collected at school. Students may collect through observed self-collection
      • Samples are processed at the Broad Institute
      • A maximum of ten samples are included in each pool

     

    1. Routine COVID Pooled Testing and Lab-Based Follow-Up Testing – single sample collection: a single sample is collected; If a pool is positive, individual Follow-Up testing occurs at the lab, without a second sample collection
      • Samples are collected through a saliva sample
      • Samples may be collected at home
      • Samples are processed at Veritas Genetics
      • A maximum of five samples are included in each pool; samples are submitted individually and pooled at the lab

     

    1. Routine COVID Pooled Testing and Lab-Based Follow-Up Testing – two sample collection: two samples are collected at school, after which both specimens are transported to the laboratory; If a pool is positive, individual Follow-Up testing occurs at the lab using the second sample originally collected.
      • Samples are collected through a nasal swab
      • Samples must be collected at school. Students may collect through observed self-collection
      • Samples are processed at the Broad Institute
      • A maximum of ten samples are included in each pool
    Comments (-1)

Testing Consent Questions

BinaxNow Questions

  • Who administers the BinaxNOW tests and Routine COVID Safety Checks? (New 9/22/21)

    Posted by:

    The Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) received for the BinaxNOW test allows it to be administered by a variety of trained professionals, including, though not limited to, school nurses. The BinaxNOW tests may not be administered through self-administration.

    All staff administering BinaxNOW test kits within a school or district must complete all BinaxNOW training modules. The BinaxNOW training modules can be found here. These modules provide a detailed step-by-step guide to the test process, and the modules should be completed in their entirety prior to staff performing test on individuals. To support training of school nurses, DPH also offers train-the-trainer educational activities to school nurse leaders. To sign up for a training session, please see the COVID-19 Testing Program section of the DESE webpage.

    Similarly, routine COVID safety checks (pooled) testing is administered at school either by trained school staff, including, though not limited to, school nurses, or onsite test specimen collectors (Level II supports). For staff and for students in grades Kindergarten and up, the test may be conducted by self-administration and observed by trained staff. CIC Health will provide any training related to the administration or observation of routine COVID safety checks. 

    Comments (-1)
  • Who administers the BinaxNOW tests and Routine COVID Safety Checks for Dedham Public Schools?

    Posted by:

    At this time, DPS substitute school nurses, school nurses, and the District COVID Testing Coordinator oversee Routine COVID Safety Checks in our schools.

    Children in Grades 1 and above are usually able to complete the nasal swab themselves.  Those in Pre-K and Kindergarten or those with special needs will be swabbed by one of the trained professionals mentioned above.

    Our school nurses administer the BinaxNOW tests.

    Comments (-1)
  • Are students and staff allowed to self-swab with the BinaxNOW tests?

    Posted by:

    No. Students and staff are not allowed to swab themselves for the BinaxNOW rapid tests used for symptomatic testing or test and stay.

    Comments (-1)
  • What are the options if BinaxNOW tests for positive pool members are all negative? (New 9/22/21)

    Posted by:

    All negative BinaxNOW tests likely indicate an individual of lower viral load that is less likely to be infectious. (See https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33622768/ for more details.)


    If this occurs, schools may either (a) conduct a second BinaxNOW test on all individuals (no sooner than the next day, but within 2 days), or (b) Retest all individuals utilizing individual PCR follow-up tests (can be done the same day). The follow-up approach when all rapid tests for positive pool members are negative is at the discretion of each school/district. As long as individuals remain asymptomatic, they may stay in school while awaiting individual follow-up test results. 

    Comments (-1)

Public Reporting Questions

Last Modified on July 29, 2022