Test to Stay and Learn Plan Information
August 25, 2021
Onsite COVID Testing – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Why is the school district planning to conduct COVID-19 testing on-site?
To ensure that our schools can provide the most normal school experience in the classroom with the least amount of disruptions. Students and staff with known exposure can continue in school with daily negative tests versus remaining at home in quarantine. Many school districts in other parts of the state, and here in our area, are doing similar on-site COVID testing of students and staff.
The Test to Stay and Learn plan provides the resources to test susceptible close contacts daily (every 24hrs.) during their quarantine period with the goal of keeping close contacts who test negative On-site and In-Person learning. Participation in this testing strategy effectively reduces or eliminates the need for close contacts to miss in-person school after exposure to a case. Only close contacts who are wearing masks and remain asymptomatic are eligible to remain in school during their quarantine period under this strategy.
For quarantine purposes, close contacts of a case of COVID-19 are still defined as anyone that has been within 6 feet for 10 minutes or longer.
What tests will be used in schools and who will administer the tests?
The state of Kansas is providing school districts with COVID-19 rapid tests. Specifically, they will be providing Abbott’s BinaxNOW COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test, which will be administered by school nurses or other individuals who have been trained to administer to students for whom we have received prior parent/guardian consent. The test involves inserting a small swab, like a Q-Tip, into the lowermost portion of the nostril. This is a quick nasal swab test of both nostrils and is NOT the deep swab nostril test that is performed at medical facilities and other testing sites. More information about the BinaxNOW test can be found here.
Where will testing take place?
Testing will be available to PreK-8 families in their child’s respective buildings. Parents or guardians with students in grades PreK-12 may accompany them during testing. Older students in grades 9-12, whose parents have granted consent, will be tested at Labette County High School. Staff will be tested during the workday.
How long is the testing process expected to take?
The entire process of explaining the test to the child and then performing the swab test generally takes only a few minutes.
When will this onsite testing begin?
We expect that the testing of staff and students will begin the last week in August or the first week in September. Note: Based upon the availability of test kits and personnel being hired.
If your student is currently in quarantine, please contact your school administrator to see if testing is available prior to sending your asymptomatic student to the school.
How do I consent to have my student(s) tested at school?
There is an online parent/guardian consent form for you to fill out for your student(s). This form was sent to you in a separate email on Wednesday, August 25. Students will not be tested without parent/guardian consent.
If verbal authorization is required, parents and/or guardians will be asked to voice consent. Consent will need to be verified by 2 USD 506 staff members.
Why is the rapid antigen test being used?
The rationale for using the rapid test instead of the PCR test is that testing will be done on students and staff who are asymptomatic. Rapid tests detect protein fragments specific to the Novel Coronavirus and are non-invasive for students & staff (ie: not deep sinus tests). PCR tests detect RNA (genetic material) that is specific to the virus and are the “deep sinus” variety, plus they have a longer turnaround time than the rapid test. The rapid test results are available in 15 minutes.
What if my child has symptoms of COVID-19? Will they be able to be tested at school?
No. The rapid antigen test used in USD 506 will not be used as a diagnostic tool. Students will be screened for symptoms prior to testing. Parents of students who are exhibiting symptoms are urged to contact their child’s health care professional for further evaluation and possible diagnostic testing. Students who have family members who are symptomatic and are awaiting COVID diagnostic test results are required to stay home.
Please refer to the District Flowchart for more information.
Is there a cost for students or staff being tested on-site?
No. All costs associated with the in-district testing will be covered by the state. If you choose to get a COVID-19 test on your own through a different medical provider, you would be responsible for any cost.
How do you decide which students and staff to test?
Students and/or staff who are deemed a direct contact of a positive Covid-19 case at school, and desire to stay in school, will need to submit to a daily test during the duration of the 10-day quarantine. Those who choose not to submit to the voluntary test will be required to complete the 10-day quarantine at home per Labette County Health Department guidelines.
Can I be present when my PreK-12 child is tested?
For students in grades PreK-12, yes as long as the parent is not in quarantine, in isolation or Covid positive. We will be providing onsite testing at all of our attendance centers at a designated time. For children exhibiting test anxiety, parents and/or guardians will be instructed to pick up their children. Testing will not be offered during such situations.
How can I help prepare my child for the test (especially for younger children)?
You should talk to your child about the testing and watch this video together. We encourage you to tell them that health professionals at school are going to do a test for the virus by rubbing a small cotton swab inside the front part of their nose. Let them know that the health professionals will need to wear special protective equipment to keep themselves and others safe during the testing process.
This may include a face mask, eye goggles or face shield, an outer gown, and gloves. Please let your child know that they will need to wear their face covering for the testing procedure and will take it off for a few minutes so that the test can be done. Then they can put their face covering back on. (Parents should also wear a face-covering as they interact with the health professional during the testing procedure). Remind your child that it’s okay that the school performs this test and that it’s quick, safe, and gentle.
What if I prefer to get my child tested offsite?
You have the option to get your child tested by your healthcare provider or at any testing site. In order to be eligible for modified quarantine, there must be verification of daily testing with a negative result from a verified health care entity and/or testing center. Student and staff results need to be provided to your school nurse before the student and or staff member is allowed to return to the building. If it is your intention to test offsite, please notify the school and indicate when your child will be tested.
If my child is considered to be in close contact and I do not consent to the test, will my student be quarantined and switch to full offsite instruction?
Yes, per state statute USD 506 does not have the option to offer remote learning. USD 506 will follow the Local Health Departments’ definition of close contact. Close contact is defined as being within 6-feet of the person for 10-minutes or more.
Can parents/guardians or family members get tested too?
No. Right now, we only have enough tests to accommodate our in-school population.
What happens if a student tests positive?
If your child tests positive for COVID-19 you will be notified the same day by phone. You will be directed to contact your child’s healthcare provider to discuss the positive test results and the possible need for additional diagnostic testing. The district will also contact the Labette County Department of Health to report your child’s positive test result. Your child will need to remain at home until they are cleared to return to school per Labette County Department of Health regulations.
Will families of students who test negative be provided with those test results? If so, how long will it be until those results are received?
Parents of students who test negative will be emailed within 24-48 hours of their child’s test.
For students and families of multilingual learners, will information be available in other languages? If so, how will this be arranged?
Please communicate with your child’s principal in advance of the testing if you wish to have any of the testing information provided in your family’s preferred language.
What if my child is fully vaccinated--Exceptions to quarantine?
Fully vaccinated individuals do not have to quarantine after exposure to COVID-19 as long as they remain without symptoms. This means that they can remain On-site and In-Person learning at school. The close contact must wear a mask while indoors throughout the quarantine time frame.
It is recommended by the CDC, KDHE, and Labette County Health Department that fully vaccinated individuals get tested 3 to 5 days after exposure even if they do not have symptoms with an additional recommendation by KDHE to re-test 7-10 days after exposure. However, they do not have to isolate themselves at home while waiting for results if they do not have symptoms.
Any asymptomatic student who has recovered in the last 6 months from a documented positive COVID 19 infection is exempt from the 10-day daily testing requirements. However, close contact must wear a mask while indoors throughout their quarantine timeframe.
At this current time, antibody testing is not accepted as proof of COVID 19 immunity, and will not be used to exclude any student or staff from daily testing requirements or quarantine protocols.
Will my child be required to quarantine if they are a close contact and asymptomatic (no symptoms)?
If a close contact is identified, and they are unvaccinated, the close contact may continue to stay in school if they produce a negative test on a daily period during the time of quarantine and remain asymptomatic (no symptoms). These students must wear a mask while indoors, outdoors, and throughout the quarantine time frame. Testing is voluntary and not mandatory. This also includes all USD 506 staff who are deemed close contacts. Those who choose not to submit to the voluntary test will be required to complete the 10-day quarantine at home per Labette County Health Department guidelines.
Fully vaccinated individuals (14-days after their 2nd dose) do not have to quarantine if they are exposed and are asymptomatic. They will still be required to wear masks while indoors throughout the quarantine time frame.
I have questions about this testing plan. Where can I get more answers?
You are encouraged to reach out to your child’s school administrator or nurse if you have questions regarding COVID-19 testing.
Students, staff, and teachers exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 without other obvious explanations or an alternative diagnosis from a healthcare professional are prohibited from coming to school or will be sent home from school if already in attendance.
SCHOOL RESPONSE TO IDENTIFICATION OF A CASE:
- When there is confirmation that a person infected with COVID-19 was in a school building, the school will contact the local health department immediately.
- As soon as the school becomes aware of a student or employee that has been diagnosed with COVID-19 disease, the custodial staff will be informed so that all desks, lockers, and workspaces of the person are thoroughly disinfected. There is no need to wait 24 hours or any other length of time before disinfection occurs.
- School staff will immediately begin compiling a list of close contacts, including names, email addresses, and phone numbers. Consider the two days prior to when the case started having symptoms or, if the case was asymptomatic, the two days prior to the date the sample was collected. Identify anyone who would have been within 6 feet for 10 minutes or more or would have had direct contact with secretions (see above section on Defining a Susceptible Close Contact).
- Guardians of students who have been identified as close contacts and any staff identified as close contacts should be informed immediately.
- The school may contact parents/students and employees and notify them that a person who tested positive for COVID-19 was in the building and encourage cooperation with the school and the local health department to trace contacts with the individual. The individual who tested positive will not be identified in communications to the school community at large.
SEPARATION WHILE IN SCHOOL:
- Each school must have a room or space separate from the nurse’s office where students or employees who may have COVID-19 or another communicable disease will wait to be evaluated or for pick-up.
- Students will be given a mask to wear.
- Only essential staff and students assigned to the room may enter and the room will be disinfected several times throughout the day.
- Strict social distancing is required, and staff must wear appropriate PPE.
- Students who are ill will be walked out of the building to their parents.