What is Covid-19 Pooled Testing?
One of our COVID-19 mitigation strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our school community is pooled testing. We will continue to provide free weekly COVID-19 pooled testing to any interested students and staff this year. We have worked closely with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) to implement this initiative. Participation is recommended and strongly encouraged for unvaccinated individuals.
How our Pooled Testing program works
Pool testing involves mixing several individuals’ test samples together into one “pool” and then testing the pooled sample for COVID-19. This approach increases the number of individuals that can be tested at one time and allows us to regularly test our school community for COVID-19. The pooled tests will be performed once per week with a shallow nasal swab for participating staff members. Schools will receive the pooled test results within 24 – 48 hours. If the result of the pool is negative, then all individuals in the pool are presumed to not have COVID-19. If the result of the pool is positive, then all individuals in the pool must be retested individually.
Because pooled testing does not provide individual test results, you will only be notified if you require follow-up testing. Our schools will provide the Abbott BinaxNOW Rapid Antigen Diagnostic Test for follow-up testing, so students or staff in a positive pool may be tested on-site as soon as possible and receive individual test results in 15 minutes. Our nursing staff is thoroughly trained on how to administer the Abbott BinaxNOW Rapid Antigen Diagnostic Test.
Pooled testing occurs once a week. Chelmsford High School, Parker, McCarthy, Harrington and Byam schools will offer the testing every Tuesday. Center and South Row Elementary will offer testing every Wednesday. Consent must be received the week prior to testing in order to be eligible to participate in Pool testing.
Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days will be excluded from weekly pool test participation. After conclusion of the 90 days, participation is encouraged and welcomed.
Important Information – Consent to Participate Required
For your child to participate in Pool Testing, consent is required to test. Please refer to the consent form for additional information. To provide permission for your child to participate in the Pool Testing in our schools, please select the following link to complete the consent form:
*Please note the consent includes an option for Symptomatic Testing, however, symptomatic testing is not currently available in our schools. The consent is applicable only for weekly COVID-19 pool testing and/or the Test and Stay protocol.
- Contact: For questions regarding the Covid-19 Pooled Testing Initiative at Chelmsford Public Schools, contact Peggy Gump, M.Ed., BSN, RN at: