FRAMINGHAM – The Framingham Superintendent of Schools Bob Tremblay announced tonight, April 28, the participating rate in the free COVID-19 pooled testing, has increased to 70% at the elementary level.
Tremblay told the School Committee district-wide the rate is about 60%, as the participation rate in the secondary levels (middle and high) is only at about 50%.
Participation is voluntary in the program.
Only students who are part of the in-person or hybrid learning can participate in the pooled testing. Remote students do not participate in pooled testing.
In mid-March, only 46% of students were participating in the district’s pooled testing program to identify COVID-19 cases.
By April 1, that number has increased to 56% district-wide.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, approved the public school district for pooled testing in January.
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.
The district’s goal is to have 70% pooled testing participation rate across the district or higher.
The district conducts PCR testing for staff. The latest information was 806 staff tested the week of April 12 with zero positive cases.