As our students return to school in the Valley Unified service area and we continue to take precautions to minimize the risk of the spread of COVID-19, we look forward to a full year of school education for all of our students. . We hope to maintain comprehensive instruction in the school throughout the school year by maintaining a safe environment for our students, employees, families and communities. To support these goals, we will work in partnership with Concentric by Ginkgo to provide a voluntary and free COVID-19 pooled testing program.
To successfully implement a voluntary pooled testing program, we will need your help. To help you decide whether or not to enroll your student in our group testing program, we’ve provided important information for you below.
What are group tests?
Pooling can test 25 people using a single test. All participating students in a class drain their noses and place their swabs in a single tube (this is the pooling step). The samples in this tube are then analyzed as a single sample, using a single test. If a sample indicates a positive test result, we make an effort to identify who in the class has contracted COVID-19 by performing individual tests.
Why group tests?
You know the old adage: “Knowledge is power”. Without knowing if COVID-19 is present in our schools, it is difficult for us to make informed decisions about protecting our school community and continuing to learn in person. This program will provide us with objective data regarding positive COVID cases in our schools, which will help us make objective decisions about the steps we need to take to keep everyone safe.
Why should my student participate?
Being part of group testing will allow your child to stay in school and in school-related extracurricular activities even if they are considered close contact from someone at the school who has been identified as positive for COVID-19. They won’t have to miss school days due to quarantine. They will not miss the instruction in school. They can continue to participate in extracurricular activities. And you won’t waste time from work because of your kid’s home quarantine. Only students with completed consent forms can participate in the tests. If you don’t want your child to participate, your student will not be included in the testing program.
What if my child has been vaccinated?
People who have been vaccinated are also strongly encouraged to participate in group testing, as even people who have been vaccinated can contract and spread COVID-19. Your student will have peace of mind week to week knowing that they will not pass the virus on to anyone else without knowing it.
Group testing will help us make informed decisions about in-person learning and allow students, teachers and other staff to come to school with peace of mind. Your school will contact you soon to offer to participate in group tests. We hope you will consider enrolling your student in your school’s program at this time. Stay safe and be well.
Superintendent of Schools