With students now back to school, challenges related to COVID-19 remain as those identified as close contacts must be quarantined. But Naperville school districts are exploring options to reduce the number of them who have to stay home. One option is Test-to-Stay.
Trial program to stay
The Test-to-Stay program allows students and staff identified as close contacts to continue to come to school instead of being quarantined if they had been masked. They should be tested on days one, three, five and seven from the date of exposure. If a test is positive or symptoms appear, they will have to go home. People who are vaccinated and do not have symptoms do not need to self-quarantine.
Test-to-Stay was created by the Illinois Department of Public Health and Illinois School Board, but these groups gave local health departments the final say on whether to allow school districts to implement it. The DuPage County Department of Health (DCHD) does not endorse the program, one of the reasons being that the Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention (CDC) either. However, they allow school districts to implement it if they wish.
School districts explore test to stay
At Monday’s board meeting, Indian Prairie School District 204 said it was working on a pilot program to try the test to stay. District 204 Superintendent Adrian Talley said the district would most likely launch the program as a pilot in a small number of schools, “to make sure it can be easily scaled up to all of our buildings.”
Naperville School District 203 is evaluating its options and resources as Test-to-Stay is not DCHD approved.
âWhat makes it somewhat difficult are the requirements of the test to stay and the number of tests that need to be done and the fact that the DuPage County Health Department has indicated that its education team will not provide technical assistance to school staff for the implementation of a test. -to-Stay, âDistrict 203 Superintendent Dan Bridges said at the Education Council meeting on September 20.
Bridges said they will be looking at other school districts on how they intend to implement the program as there will be no support from DCHD, “which is disappointing,” Fitzgerald said .
âTo fully meet the requirements of the Test-to-Stay protocol and the amount of testing and frequency of testing, it will be difficult for us to implement them on our own,â said Bridges. “That being said, as we continue to assess the impact of wasted classroom time, we know we need to consider what other options may be.”
According to District 203 COVID-19 tracker, a total of 648 students were quarantined for the week of September 19 to 25. Area 204 said it placed 42 students under exclusion status due to close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 on campus the same week.
Aysha Ashley Househ and Casey Flanagan of Naperville News 17.
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