WHAT SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS AND PARENTS NEED TO KNOW REGARDING COVID-19
INFORMATION AS OF AUGUST 12, 2022
WHAT IS THE UPDATED COVID-19 GUIDANCE FOR SCHOOLS?
As of August 11, 2022, the CDC has removed the recommendation that kids in different classrooms avoid mixing, a practice known as “cohorting.” The CDC also removed advice that kids in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 take regular tests — and test negative — to remain in the classroom, which was known as “test-to-stay.” How can we keep ourselves and our families safe with the new guidelines?
President of the American Federation of Teachers, one of the nation’s largest teachers’ unions, Randi Weingarten told CNN, “COVID-19 and other viruses are still with us, but with multiple prevention and treatment options available, now is not the time for new mandates. Instead, let’s ensure these tools are available and accessible: vaccines, testing and masks (and no stigma for those who mask),”
Summary of the CDC’s Updated COVID-19 Prevention Strategies (full recommendations on CDC website):
- Monitoring COVID-19 Community Levels to guide COVID-19 prevention efforts
- Nonpharmaceutical interventions
- Testing for current infection. Diagnostic testing can identify infections early so that infected persons can take action to reduce their risk of transmitting the virus and receive treatment, if clinically indicated, to reduce their risk for severe illness and death;
- All persons should seek testing for active infection when they are symptomatic or if they have a known or suspected exposure to someone with COVID-19;
- When testing asymptomatic persons with no known exposure, public health officials might prioritize high-risk congregate settings, such as long-term care facilities, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, and workplace settings that include congregate housing with limited access to medical care. In these types of high-risk congregate environments, screening testing might complement diagnostic testing of symptomatic persons by identifying asymptomatic infected persons
- When implemented, screening testing strategies should include all persons, irrespective of vaccination status. Screening testing might not be cost-effective in general community settings, especially if COVID-19 prevalence is low;
- It’s no longer recommending that adults and children quarantine after having been exposed to COVID-19.
- Managing SARS-CoV-2 exposures
WHAT TO DO WHEN RETURNING TO SCHOOL AFTER POSSIBLE EXPOSURE
The CDC suggests that those who are exposed to COVID-19 should wear a mask around others indoors while monitoring for symptoms for ten days.
People should also test five days or sooner after exposure if experiencing symptoms. The guidance is the same for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
K-12 SCHOOL DISTRICT TESTING
School administrators will need to assess whether current pandemic circumstances and individual school circumstances justify viral screening testing of students to prevent transmission of COVID-19 in schools.
If a school seeks to implement student/staff screening testing, such testing must meet the CDC standards based on relevant facts. Possible considerations in making the assessment may include the level of community transmission, the vaccination status of students, the accuracy and speed of processing for different types of COVID-19 viral tests, the degree to which breakthrough infections are possible for students who are “up to date” on vaccinations, the ease of transmissibility of the current variant(s), the possible severity of illness from the current variant, what types of contacts students may have with others in school, and the potential impact if a student enters school with COVID-19.
TESTING CAN IMPROVE SCHOOL SAFETY
Students might have been exposed to COVID-19 at the end of summer. They might feel well and not have any symptoms, but they can still be infected and spread the virus to others. Testing confirms that there is no virus spreading in the schools.
All school administrators should remain alert to and informed about changing conditions, including the community spread of the virus and testing availability. They should implement infection prevention and control measures accordingly.
GS Labs recognizes that knowledge is power. One of the best ways to stop and lessen community spread is to know your virus status. Book a test today.
TYPES OF TESTING
THE COVID-19 RAPID ANTIGEN TEST
This test is administered with a nasal swab, and GS Labs uses the Indicard Rapid COVID-19 test, which allows results to come back in as little as 30 minutes (wait times may vary depending on volume). MOST insurance providers fully cover this test.
COVID-19 PCR TEST
The PCR test is administered with a nasal swab. This test can detect the virus within days of infection, even in those with no symptoms, because it detects the virus’s RNA (or genetic material). Results of the PCR test come back in 3-5 days. MOST insurance providers fully cover this test.
COVID-19 RAPID PCR TEST
This NAAT-PCR test is administered with a nasal swab. This test’s Limit of Detection (LoD) is among the lowest measured for the FDA SARS-CoV-2 Reference Panel. This test is not covered by insurance and is charged as an out-of-pocket expense of $299.00.
COVID-19 RAPID PCR TEST
This NAAT-LAMP test is administered with a nasal swab.The Limit of Detection (LoD) is also among the lowest measured for the FDA SARSCoV-2 Reference Panel. This test is very similar to PCR, differing only in the lack of temperature fluctuations in the testing process. GS Labs provides NAAT-LAMP results in 30 minutes. This test is not covered by insurance and is charged as an out-of-pocket expense of $299.00.
COVID-19 RAPID & FLU ANTIGEN COMBINED TEST
GS Labs offers one test to detect two contagious respiratory illnesses, COVID-19 and Influenza. The COVID-19 Rapid & Flu Antigen Combined test detects COVID-19, Influenza A, and Influenza B. This test is administered with a nasal swab and can provide results in as little as 20 minutes (wait times may vary depending on volume). This test is not covered by insurance and is charged as an out-of-pocket expense of $199.00.
ABOUT GS LABS
GS Labs Testing provides COVID-19 testing and peace of mind to multiple communities throughout the US. Our team of professional staff, including Registered Nurses on site, are here to help make the COVID-19 testing process safe and simple, to deliver your results as quickly as possible.
GS Labs rapid testing facilities are helping communities meet the needs and challenges of COVID-19 through employing hundreds of local staff and providing rapid COVID-19 testing services. Our goal is simple – easy scheduling, no-wait testing, and timely results.
HOW TESTING WORKS
- BOOK ONLINE – Select your location and complete registration.
- ARRIVE AT APPOINTMENT – Pull into a designated parking spot. No waiting in line!
- GET RAPID TEST RESULTS – Check your email for results within 20 minutes!
CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL
* CDC offers the following considerations to slow the spread of COVID-19 during small gatherings. These considerations are meant to supplement—not replace—any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which all gatherings must comply.
Celebrating virtually or with members of your own household (who are consistently taking measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19) poses the lowest risk for spread. Your household is anyone who currently lives and shares common spaces in your housing unit (such as your house or apartment). This can include family members, as well as roommates or people who are unrelated to you. People who do not currently live in your housing unit, such as college students who are returning home from school for the holidays, should be considered part of different households. In-person gatherings that bring together family members or friends from different households, including college students returning home, pose varying levels of risk.
Do not host or participate in any in-person gatherings if you or anyone in your household:
- Has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and has not met the criteria for when it is safe to be around others
- Has symptoms of COVID-19
- Is waiting for COVID-19 viral test results
- May have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days
- Is at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19
Do not host or attend gatherings with anyone who has COVID-19 or has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days.