The Importance of Routine Covid-19 Testing Among Students

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With vaccines rolling out to kids age 5+, routine covid testing, mask usage, and social distancing is key to keeping the safety of the all.

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA, UNITED STATES, November 5, 2021 / — In April of 2020, the U.S. experienced nationwide lockdowns as community spread of the
SARS-CoV-2 virus reached a critical point. In an unprecedented move, many businesses and schools closed their doors and turned to virtual work and learning. While this change was in many respects challenging, particular concern was voiced for how distance learning would impact children. Kids would no longer have the benefit of in person instruction, nor the opportunity to gather with their peers. Some argued that this may set back America’s youth educationally, socially, and developmentally.

Whether such fears were founded or not, policy makers, public health officials, and school boards deliberated over how to safely return students. Now, in fall of 2021, most K-12 schools are in person once again. Keeping students, faculty, and families safe is still a very real concern, however, and accordingly, districts have employed a multi-layered approach to COVID-19 containment. This strategy involves monitoring community spread and vaccination rates, as well as continued mask usage and social distancing when possible. In addition to this, the CDC also suggests routine screening tests for the unvaccinated. Many schools, like the San Mateo- Foster City School District already see the importance of routine testing and have chosen to partner with companies like Virus Geeks.

Screening tests are just that: tests that “screen” for COVID-19 in persons who aren’t displaying symptoms but could be infectious. Typically, screening will produce positive results for those who are asymptomatic (contagious with no symptoms) or pre-symptomatic (contagious, but too early in disease course for symptoms to have developed). Both types of transmission contribute heavily to what we see as community spread. Early detection of illness can allow for appropriate isolation and quarantining of those infected or who have been exposed.

Identifying COVID-19 cases quickly is advantageous to the health of the school community, but rapid quarantining is not the only benefit screening tests elicit. Testing can also provide feedback on the prevention strategies being employed by the school and be used as an additional safety precaution in the context of extracurriculars (such as contact sports) which may increase changes of COVID-19 spread. At a minimum, unvaccinated students participating in these activities should be tested once a week, though additional screening may be prudent if the surrounding community’s transmission rate is particularly high.

Designing an effective testing program for schools can be tricky. The frequency and type of testing should be based on community illness and vaccination rates, but privacy/consent laws must also be taken into consideration. Accordingly, the CDC recommends schools work closely with public health offices to make a testing plan that works best in their particular set of circumstances. When it comes time to act on this plan and get testing done, consider partnering with a business such as Virus Geeks. We are a bio health organization committed to keeping our community safe and are proud to offer school testing programs out of several locations in the Bay area. Together we can keep the youth in our community safe, healthy, and in the classroom.

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Source: EIN Presswire