FRAMINGHAM – The percentage of students participating in the pooled testing program in the Framingham Public Schools is up 5%, as March ends.
As of today, March 29, 51% of students, across all the schools in the public school district, are participating in the program, said district administration.
Remote students do not participate in the pooled program, only in-person and hybrid students are eligible for pooled testing.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, approved the public school district for pooled testing in January.
SOURCE requested school by school pooled percentage numbers earlier this month, the administration has only been providing pooled numbers district-wide.
On March 19, the district reported that number has increased to 48%.
The district conducted 322 pools with 1,360 students tested, with 2 positive pools the week of March 22.
“Unfortunately, it is not surprising that the number of COVID cases in Framingham has increased,” said Framingham Teachers Association President Christine Mulroney. “This is not the time to let our guard down. Everyone must continue to follow safety protocol both in and outside of school.”
“As we approach April vacation, we urge families to be mindful about their travel plans. If you do travel, we encourage all family members to get a PCR test upon return. We wholeheartedly support the district’s decision to put pooled and PCR testing in place in order to identify asymptomatic COVID cases. The FTA is urging families of in-person learners to consent to their child’s participation in weekly pooled testing. Doing so will help to minimize the spread. Please, continue to socially distance, wear a mask, and, when eligible and able, get the vaccine. This is a community effort!,” said Mulroney.
The district began using the pooled testing in February when students in Phases 1, 2, & 3 returned to in-person learning. It was then offered to cohorts A & B when they returned to in person learning in March. Pooled testing is not conducted for remote students.
Between March 1-15, Framingham Public Schools conducted 504 pooled tests, including 2,062 students. As of March 15, there were five confirmed positive COVID cases.
Pooled “tests combine respiratory samples from several students and then conduct one laboratory test on the combined pool of samples to detect SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19,” explained Superintendent of Schools Bob Tremblay in January.
“If a pooled test result is negative, then all individuals within that pool are presumed negative and may remain in school. If a pooled test result is positive, then all individuals in the pool must be retested individually,” said Tremblay.
If any of the individual tests come back as positive, they will appear in the public school district’s coronavirus dashboard. Pooled positive results do not appear in the district’s dashboard.
Framingham Public Schools district has had 94 total cases in the district, as of 10 p.m. today, March 29.