COVID-19 Testing MANDATED for High School Students in Extracurricular Activities
NPS has mandated testing for all high school students participating in in-person extracurricular activities. This is a mandate not only for students participating in athletics, but for any students participating in in-person extracurricular activities. If your student participates in any in-person extracurricular activity, they must be enrolled and participate weekly in our pool testing program. Testing will be linked to participation beginning the week of May 3, 2021. Please see details for enrollment in the testing program below.
Data Dashboard for Weekly COVID-19 Testing in Schools
As weekly COVID-19 testing for students and staff continues to roll out, NPS will be tracking testing data. You can view a data dashboard of the number of tests conducted, the number of students and staff eligible, and the number of positive cases by following this link.
On Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 6:30 p.m., NPS hosted a webinar for middle school families to learn more about COVID-19 testing in school. Below you will find resources shared during the webinar, as well as link to a full recording of the session:
On Tuesday, March 30, 2021, NPS hosted a webinar for Pre-K and elementary families to learn more about COVID-19 testing in school. Below you will find resources shared during the webinar, as well as link to a full recording of the session:
Slide Presentation from March 30, 2021 Webinar (download PDF)
On Thursday, March 4th, NPS hosted a webinar for high school families to answer questions about the COVID-19 testing. JCM Analytics provided a brief overview of the testing program and process. Dr. Dori Zaleznik, as well as district and school-based members of the NPS COVID Testing Team. were present to answer questions.
You can view the webinar here:
Slide presentation from Webinar (download PDF)
MIDDLE SCHOOL FAMILIES: Webinars specific to testing at the elementary and middle school levels will be announced shortly as we get closer to rolling out testing at those levels.
Asymptomatic COVID-19 Testing
Newton Public Schools is pleased to partner with JCM Analytics to provide free weekly COVID-19 testing to all students and staff. This testing program was vetted by a working group that provided this recommendation to the 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.
This testing program is VOLUNTARY and you must provide your consent in order to participate. You may opt-in at any time. The testing program serves students attending school in-person in school buildings. It is not intended for students in the Distance Learning Academy at the elementary level or fully remote students at the middle and high school levels.
Questions? Email: email@example.com
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.
Instructions for Participation in Pool Testing
Below you will find instruction documents that will be helpful to you as you begin your participation in the NPS COVID-19 testing program. You may enroll in the testing program at any time. If your student is not already enrolled, here are the steps to take:
- Sign the consent form: The consent form can be found in the Aspen Student/Family Portal. Please follow these instructions to sign the consent form.
- Create an account on the JCM Analytics website at: https://workflow.jcmworks.com/.*
*Only staff and high school students need to create a JCM account with their school email addresses. Pre-K - 8th grade will be provided a QR code by school staff, which will be used to check in their sample at the school building.
- PLEASE NOTE: once you sign the consent form, there is a lag time before your consent is uploaded to JCM. For Data will be uploaded by noon on the day BEFORE your school is scheduled to test. High school students can access JCM after this time to create an account. Accounts cannot be created until information is uploaded.
- Instructions for creating an account on the JCM website can be found by downloading this PDF document: JCM Analytic Account Creation Instructions
- You do NOT need to opt into testing each week. Once you have signed the consent form and then created a JCM account, your student can be tested each week.
Timeline for Testing Roll-Out
Week of March 1
Testing for all NPS staff in buildings or at the Education Center. Test kits distributed to high school students who have opted-in. (more information will be sent to HS families from building principals)
Week of March 8
Testing begins for high school students who have opted-in.
Week of April 5
Testing begins for Pre-K and elementary students who have opted-in.
Week of April 28
Testing begins for middle school students who have opted-in.
Sample Collection Instruction Video
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 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 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