Last November, Maxwine Union Elementary School in Northern California was living two realities.
The school had a private education system with about 850 students at Mercedes. However, it could not be kept in the teachers’ building due to contact with the positive case of Kovid-19.
In January, the school began testing teachers and then students for viruses, even if they did not show symptoms. Since then, regular, rapid antigen tests have detected five positive cases of staff members and one positive student, who were either pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic, Superintendent Roy Mendiola said.
These people and their close acquaintances were sent home immediately, but everyone else could stay at school.
I’m not saying we should abandon any other (school safety) protocol, but the antigen test gives us an immediate response, “Mendiola said in a recent webinar.
As part of President Joe Biden’s pressure to reopen schools, the administration announced this week that it would provide ভি 10 billion to expand the screening of CVV-19 staff and students for K-12 schools. Rapid, rapid antigen tests that yield results within 15 minutes, such as the tests used at Maxwine Elementary, may be more widely accepted.
This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new recommendations in line with Biden’s school-testing initiative. Biden administration officials say more details are coming, but so far states and districts are seeing their own path due to a lack of national coordination.
Schools that have already set up testing systems have adopted a variety of practices. Medical technology companies have rushed to meet their needs with testing products and services. Health experts are divided on which test is best. And the families of some of the staff and students have jumped on the bandwagon.
Multiple companies test COVID-19, but the Food and Drug Administration has only allowed a handful of rapid tests that can be used without a doctor’s prescription or medical supervision. Companies that produce the least expensive versions have been unable to obtain FDA approval.
All of this has added schools to emerge as the latest battlefield for determining the best and smartest way to track the virus as the cause of Squid-19.
It still needs to be coordinated, “said Scott Baker, CEO of the Public Health Laboratories Association.” You just don’t want to throw tests there.
Although the test was criticized, experts are divided on the details
Public health experts are hopeful that widespread vaccination will reduce the number of cases, but it remains critical to test for new cases and variants that could make the virus more contagious or deadly.
Growing medical experts say that screening with cheap, quick tests could help control the virus by sending more staff and students back to the K-12 schools’ classrooms. Nursing homes have used such tests to quickly detect cases and protect vulnerable seniors and staff. And colleges in New England have taken quick tests to safely reopen settings that would otherwise be suitable for spreading COVID-19.
“It was something that made a difference a few months ago,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior pundit at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Protection. “And if we can do it today, it will make a difference.”
Charity Dean, a physician who helped launch the California COVID-19 testing task force last year, advised schools and students and staff to test twice a week to screen because they are faster and cheaper than PCR tests.
Dean added that, as noted in the referencing studies, the frequency of the test was significantly reduced from once every 14 days to once every two to three days,
But Tina Tan, a professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University, said screening students without symptoms can be problematic, especially if the rapid antigen test results in missing the infection. Antigen tests, which detect proteins of coronaviruses, provide less expensive and faster results but are generally less sensitive than PCR tests.
“If you’re going to test someone, it’s probably not the best way, primarily because you’re looking at one point at a time,” said Tan, a member of the American Board of Infectious Diseases Society. Tell you if the person may have a contagious disease or if the person is really infected. “
On Friday, the CDC updated the school’s reopening guidelines to reduce physical distance recommendations to three feet in the classroom. The changes further say that weekly screenings of imperfect teachers and students are particularly valuable in communities where “COVID-19 spreads are moderate to high”.