Pentucket Regional Schools to Offer Rapid COVID-19 Tests as Part of State, Federal Program

Pentucket Regional High School.

Pentucket Regional School District has been chosen by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the U.S. Department of Defense to receive rapid COVID-19 tests.

Superintendent Justin Bartholomew said the district is one of 134 districts in the state chosen to receive free, rapid tests as part of the program. There are approximately two million tests available, but Pentucket has not yet been notified of the number of tests it will receive. The instant results allow for the district to start conducting contract tracing immediately after a positive result is confirmed, helping to mitigate further spread of the virus in the school community.

“Being able to start the contact tracing process moments after confirming a positive test result is vital in preventing any further spread of COVID-19 in our schools,” Bartholomew said. He reminded the public, however, that any individual who is showing symptoms of COVID-19 prior to the start of the school day should stay home and contact a healthcare provider about testing options.

The tests are to be used for staff or students who develop COVID-19 symptoms while at school. If the individual tests positive for COVID-19, they will be sent home and given instructions regarding the next steps to take, including self-isolation protocols and additional testing requirements. These tests can only be administered to those who are already showing symptoms related to COVID-19 and the district has created isolation areas at each school for those who are showing symptoms.

School nurses will be trained to administer the rapid tests in the coming weeks. Testing will only be conducted with parent or guardian authorization. Parents and guardians will also receive consent forms that must be returned and will also be contacted directly by the school should their students become symptomatic and need to get tested.

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