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FRAMINGHAM – Over the last two weeks, Framingham Public Schools has increased the students participating in its pooled testing program by about 22%.

In mid-March, only 46% of students were participating in the district’s pooled testing program to identify COVID-19 cases.

As of today, April 1, that number has increased to 56%.

Remote students do not participate in the pooled program, only in-person and hybrid students are eligible for pooled testing.

In comparison. Natick Superintendent of Schools Anna Nolin “district wide we are at about 66% participation by staff and students.”

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, approved the public school district for pooled testing in January.

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As of 6 p.m. today, April 1, the district conducted 351 Pools with 6 positive pooled results.

SOURCE requested the actual number of students, as well as the percentage of students who had opted into the pooled testing program as of April 1. The district only provided the percentage.

SOURCE also requested the percentage of students that are participating in the pooled program at Framingham High School.

That number is lower that the overall district participation rate at just 37%.

The City of Framingham returned to the high-risk category for the spread of the coronavirus today, April 1. The Commonwealth has 55 communities in the high-risk or red category as of the start of April.

One of the driving forces for the return to red is an increase in coronavirus cases at the 0-19 and 20-29 age levels.

Last week, Framingham Public Schools had the third highest number of COVID cases in the state for students & staff.

This week, Framingham Public School fell to the fifth highest in the Commonwealth with 20 reported cases between students & staff.

The district’s COVID dashboard reported 59 COVID cases in the Framingham Public Schools in March.

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“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 of Monday, April 5, all Framingham Public School elementary students will return to the physical classrooms 5-days-a-week, unless a family has chosen to stay remote.

The district surveyed parents and 99% responded on whether they wanted in person learning or remote learning for the rest of the 2020-21 school year.

At the elementary level, 85% of parents chose in-person learning.

At the elementary level, the percentage of remote children ranges from a low of 10% at Potter Road to a high of 26% at Wilson Elementary School.

SchoolRemote (percentage)
BLOCKS Preschool13
Barbieri Elementary School16
Brophy Elementary School15
Dunning Elementary School12
Hemenway Elementary School11
King Elementary School18
McCarthy Elementary School19
Potter Road Elementary School10
Stapleton Elementary School16
Woodrow Wilson Elementary School26

As of April 1, the Framingham Public Schools had reported 107 COVID cases during the 2020-21 academic year.

“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.

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What is Pooled testing?

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.

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.

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By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.