iHealth COVID Test - Expiration Date Extension
IHealth, the maker of the at-home rapid antigen test provided to us by the state, was granted a three-month shelf-life extension for its iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test, which extended the shelf-life of all iHealth tests with expiration dates on or before 2022-09-29 (YYYY-MM-DD) from 6 months to 9 months. For example, if the expiration date printed on your box says 2022-05-21 (YYYY-MM-DD), the updated expiration date is 2022-08-21 (YYYY-MM-DD).
You can check the new expiration date of any COVID tests you have at home on this site: https://ihealthlabs.com/pages/news
Opt-In to the At-Home Rapid Antigen Testing Program
The Newton Public Schools has shifted its testing strategy away from pooled testing (PCR) and toward at-home weekly rapid antigen tests. This shift is in accordance with the recommendation from our Medical Advisory Group and is compatible with the new testing program announced by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) on January 18, 2022. Details on this shift can be found in this memo (link) shared at the School Committee meeting on January 24, 2022
This new weekly at-home rapid antigen test is for ALL students PreK-12+ (vaccinated and unvaccinated.) It was implemented the week of February 7, 2022.
Below is specific information you will need in order for your student to participate in the new at-home testing program:
- All families need to “opt-in” to this new testing program. The previous consent form will not apply.
- Access the Opt-in form through Aspen parent/guardian account: Aspen
- Follow these instructions (link) once you are logged into Aspen
- An at-home rapid antigen tests kit will be distributed at school every other week. Each kit will contain two tests.
- NPS recommends that all families conduct a rapid test on TUESDAY of each week.
- Here are printed instructions (link) for conducting the test at home. Here is a video tutorial on conducting the test. Translations are included.
- Only positive results need to be reported to the school. You will complete this form to report a positive result: Form - Positive Result from At-Home Antigen Test.
- If your student is within 90 days of a COVID infection, DESE recommends they not participate in the testing program.
In addition to the weekly at-home rapid antigen testing program, we will continue in-school symptomatic testing for students and staff that develop symptoms during the school day. We will discontinue the Test and Stay testing program and contact tracing. Please be vigilant in checking your student for symptoms, conducting the daily health assessment (link), and staying home when sick.
Questions? Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page here.
Opt-In Form - Paper Copy and Translated Forms
If you would like to print a copy of opt-in form and return it to your school, please click on the link below and print the form. Translated versions of the opt-in form are provided below as well.
How to Use the At-Home Rapid Antigen Test
Please note: There are two types of test kits that have been distributed. One test kit has a tube that is already filled with a solution. In the other test kit, the tube is empty and you fill it yourself with a liquid that comes with the kit as well. It will be apparent when you open the kit which one you have been given.
Here are instructions for using the at-home rapid antigen test when the solution is already in the tube:
Simplified Chinese: 简体中文
Vietnamese: Tiếng Việt
Here are the instructions if your tube is empty and you need to fill it with the solution contained in the test kit:
Vaccine Clinics and Information for Ages 5-11
In partnership with the Holtzman Medical Group, Newton Health and Human Services and the Newton Public Schools hosted vaccine clinics in November for students ages 5-11. Second dose appointments were scheduled for December. Please contact the Holtzman Medical Group with any questions about your student's 2nd dose appointment. https://www.holtzmanmedical.org/
More information can be found on the Newton HHS website. The website also includes a list of pharmacies in the Newton area that are offering the pediatric vaccine.
Data Dashboard for COVID Cases and Testing in Schools
On the NPS COVID Data Dashboard, you can review the percentage of students who have opted into rapid antigen testing, as well as positive COVID results reported to the school health department. The data dashboard can be found here: COVID Testing Data Dashboard.
The City of Newton tracks data for COVID cases in the Newton Public Schools. You can find the COVID case counts by week on this page: Newton HHS COVID Case Counts for NPS. (scroll down to the green bar on the page and look for this headline: COVID-19 Data Dashboard for the Newton Public Schools (2021-22 School Year)
Your COVID Testing Questions
We know families have many questions about the COVID Testing Program. Here is a Frequently Asked Questions document that will answer many questions about the new at-home rapid antigen testing program beginning February 7, 2022.
Have a question you don't see answered on in the FAQ document? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
COVID-19 Public Testing Sites
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