Monomoy School District Launches Pooled Testing Program

Monomoy High School

HARWICH – The Monomoy Regional School District has launched a free COVID-19 pooled testing program for students and staff at its schools.

The program is run in conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

The school district is the first on Cape Cod to launch a pooled testing program.

According to district officials, the pooled testing system involves mixing several individuals’ test samples together into one “pool” and then testing the pooled sample for COVID-19 using PCR tests.

If the result is negative, then all participants in the test are presumed negative. 

If it returns positive, then all individuals in the pool are re-tested with 15 minute tests to determine who may have COVID.

This approach increases the number of individuals that can be tested at one time and allows the district to test the students and staff for COVID-19 on a regular basis.

The district said that pooled tests will be performed once per week for seven weeks through April 18, while the state is funding pooled testing for schools.

All staff and students in Grade 2 and above swab their own noses, while school nurses will facilitate the swabbing of Pre-K, kindergarten and first graders.

The swabs are collected in a purpose-built tube and students sanitize their hands after collection.

District officials said the swabbing process takes less than a minute and then class begins for the day. 

Results are returned within 24 to 48 hours.

Officials said that in the first week of testing, nearly 60 percent of students and faculty participated.

The overall success of the program in reducing COVID rates in the school community and the availability of sustained funding for pooled testing will determine if the testing continues past April 18, said district officials.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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