Haverhill Schools Switch to Voluntary, At-Home COVID-19 Self Tests Feb. 17

Haverhill School Superintendent Margaret Marotta displays disinfecting wipes at a meeting of the School Committee. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Voluntary at-home COVID-19 testing begins for Haverhill public school students and staff next week as the district transitions away from pool testing.

As WHAV reported first Jan. 28, the new approach follows a decision by the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to allow alternatives to contact tracing, pool testing and the “test and stay” policy. In a Wednesday message to parents, school Superintendent Margaret Marotta explained the significance of the change that begins Thursday, Feb. 17.

“This means that if your child is a potential contact in school, they may continue to come to school and do not have to quarantine. This new at-home testing opportunity is voluntary and only those who opt-in will receive tests.”

School Director of Health Services Katie Vozeolas gave School Committee members the rationale at its last meeting.

“The concept is that school districts that opt-in, parents and staff will get a home kit with two tests for each child or each staff member, and you would test once a week and that the district would, in turn, would stop contact tracing and test and stay,” she explained.

The iHealth test takes 15 minutes at-home and is a federal Food and Drug Administration-approved rapid antigen test. Families of students who test positive must inform their school using a supplied online notification link. School will keep results confidential.

Marotta said the home tests reduce the burden on school staff and time to administer tests.

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