Asymptomatic COVID-19 Testing
Newton Public Schools is pleased to partner with JCM Analytics to provide free weekly COVID-19 testing to staff and students. This testing program was vetted by a working group that provided this recommendation to School Committee on February 8, 2021.
JCM utilizes a pool testing strategy in which multiple samples are grouped together and tested at the same time, reducing cost and simplifying the collection process. Here is a detailed Frequently Asked Questions document to answer all of your questions about the weekly testing program in our schools: Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19 Testing.
Questions? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
COVID Testing - Rapid Test for Symptomatic Students and Staff
We have been working closely with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) to offer free rapid COVID-19 testing for symptomatic students participating in any type of in-person instruction. This testing option only applies to students attending school in person.
To give permission for your student to participate in the COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Diagnostic Test, including permitting the school to share the test result information with the Department of Public Health and Project Beacon (a third party non-profit organization contracted to compile consent for testing and to share test results), please click the link in the email you received on Monday, January 25th.
For instructions on creating an account with Project Beacon and signing the consent form, please visit this link.
COVID-19 Testing in Schools - NPS Staff
Our voluntary testing for NPS staff has been up and running since December 21 and I am pleased to report that as of mid-January, more than 1000 tests have been completed. This has truly been a monumental undertaking as you can imagine that school districts were not well-equipped to conduct health testing in a global pandemic. However, the team assembled has done a terrific job of designing and implementing a testing program that allows staff to access tests and results in a quick, efficient, and safe manner. This program will continue to operate until the end of February and from there, we will determine next steps to expand and enhance testing for NPS staff.
As you know, the COVID-19 testing landscape is quickly changing. Last week, Governor Baker announced the availability of pooled testing to school districts through a state contract. We have taken the required steps to indicate our interest in participating in this new program. More information was shared by the state this week and we anticipate more details over the next few weeks. This announcement comes as our school nurses are completing training with the BinaxNOW rapid test pilot program announced by the state in the fall. Together with our partners at Newton HHS and medical consultants, we have formed a working group with members of our NPS team to explore testing options and we will share information as their work continues.
COVID-19 Public Testing Sites
The City of Newton has contracted with CIC Health to open a testing site at Riverside MBTA station parking lot on Grove Street in Newton Lower Falls/Auburndale. The test is a high quality PCR test and is processed at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Test results are expected back within 24 to 36 hours, and often sooner. They are available to adults and children 2-years-old and older. You do not need a physician’s referral. The cost of each $80 test is not covered by insurance at this time. CIC Health is working to provide that option. The City of Newton Health and Human Service staff is working on an arrangement with CIC Health that will enable our HHS team to provide vulnerable clients working with city social workers access to necessary testing at the Riverside site.
Find more information about CIC Health and make an appointment to be tested at cic-health.com.The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has developed a comprehensive network of COVID-19 testing sites. Some sites are operated by the state and others are operated by public and private health care facilities. The most efficient way for you to identify the best testing site for your situation is to visit this website: https://www.mass.gov/covid-19-testing. The site provides informaton on testing location, cost, insurance payments, referrals, and more.
If you are seeking a no-cost COVID-19 test, please visit this site for free testing provided by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/stop-the-spread