February 17, 2021
The Imbler School District is planning for the requirement to offer COVID-19 testing in our schools. According to the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), a K-12 school operating in-person for students in a county that does NOT meet the Ready Schools, Safe Learners (RSSL) general metrics must provide on-site COVID-19 testing beginning March 1, 2021.
The testing is only for symptomatic and exposed students and staff who develop symptoms at school or when a cohort has been exposed. The testing will use the Abbott BinaxNOW rapid point-of-care antigen test, which takes 15 minutes to return a result.
The tests are free and will be monitored by a trained person who does not need to be a medical professional. The test is self-administered. A student must also have a written consent form on file before testing for a test to be administered. While there is no opt-out form, by not completing a form for your student, the school cannot test the student.
The symptomatic protocol remains the same – if a student has COVID-19 symptoms, they will be sent home from school regardless if they are tested or not.
While on-site testing is something else districts need to navigate, I am confident the district will be prepared. This is one more tool we have in our school to help reduce and mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and we will be ready if students or staff request testing.