Covid-19 Testing on Minarets Campus: A Step Towards Covid Safety
At the beginning of November, the Chawanakee Unified School District announced that Self-Administered Covid-19 Rapid Antigen tests would be available on all campuses throughout the district for students who have been exposed to Covid or show symptoms. For Minarets, this has also expanded to athletes playing school sports as weekly negative Covid tests are required to play. Offering rapid tests on campus has been a step towards Covid safety within the school.
Chawanakee Unified School District nurse Amy Sheller is one of the school’s staff members that helps administer Covid tests to athletes every Monday. She also administers PCR testing for teachers and staff twice a week as vaccination or a weekly negative test is required.
Sheller thinks that now being able to give Covid tests to students is a positive thing for the school because students who have symptoms or require a test can have easier access to testing. Results come back within 15 minutes and are sent to the parent. If a student tests positive, they will need to quarantine for a period of time and contact tracing will determine in-class exposures to other students.
“Definitely a pro [of being able to do testing] is [that it’s helping us with] trying to keep kids in school, [and] trying to identify those positive cases before they spread to more kids,” she explains. “It also provides peace of mind for [the school knowing] we’re testing kids who have symptoms and we’re not sending them back to class if they’re positive, they’re going home, [and] quarantining. I’m [also] testing staff members once a week so they’re getting their results knowing that they’re negative and they have that peace of mind.”
Sheller says with being able to identify positive cases sooner, especially with rapid testing, this will be a positive thing towards keeping the virus from spreading. The tests aren’t 100 percent effective as there can be false negatives just like in any testing but hopefully with identifying cases and contact tracing, it can help prevent the spread.
“[It is unfortunate] when we have a positive on a sports team because that can shut a whole team down which we have had happen and that’s heartbreaking for student athletes,” she says. “When you do test and you get a positive then you have to deal with those results. With student athletes that can be very devastating [with] having your team not be able to play [especially] when you’ve practiced and put your heart into everything.”
However, with this she explains that hopefully in the long run with catching positive cases on sports teams and within the school, testing can help prevent the spread of Covid to other students or teams. By doing so, this will keep those programs running and help in keeping Minarets open as a whole.