10/20/2021

Dear NCSU School-Community:

This fall has been challenging due to the increase in cases of COVID-19 in our state, community and schools. We know everyone has struggled due to the disruptions of being asked to quarantine or go to remote learning in response to positive cases in our school community. We are committed to take the steps necessary to help us stay safe in school and maintain in-person learning.

NCSU schools will offer a range of free COVID-19 testing tools for students and staff. Testing will help keep students in school and protect our students, staff, family members, and others who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 or are at risk for getting seriously sick from COVID-19. These tools will help identify COVID-19 cases quickly and early, and then respond to positive cases.

We are working with the VT Dept. of Health and AOE and are joining other school districts throughout the state to offer response testing. Response testing includes both rapid antigen testing and PCR testing. These tools will be used in response to a positive case within the school community.

There are two kinds of tests that we will administer:

  • A PCR test is a very accurate test using a nasal swab. The swab is sent to a laboratory and results are available in 48 to 72 hours.

  • An antigen test is usually very accurate and also uses a nasal swab. Antigen tests are less sensitive than PCR tests, but when used over several consecutive days are highly effective at identifying infectious individuals.

Our school can get the results of an antigen test right here at school in about 15 to 30 minutes.

Test Type 1: “Test to Stay” (TTS) antigen testing

When an individual in our school tests positive for COVID-19, we will begin our Test to Stay program. Test to Stay is for unvaccinated students and staff who are close contacts of an individual who tested positive. TTS allows students to remain in school and participate in on-campus, school-sponsored activities, while receiving daily tests for up to 7 days.

  • Antigen testing every day upon arrival at school—individuals who test negative may remain at school

  • Students in TTS may ride the bus, but caregivers should be prepared to pick their student up if they receive a positive antigen test

  • Only unvaccinated students, ages 5 and up, will participate

  • Students in TTS may only attend school and on-campus school-sponsored activities that do not involve students from another school campus. Otherwise, they are expected to quarantine (they should not participate in other activities, go to the grocery store, or spend time with friends and others outside of the household)

  • If you do not consent to participate in TTS, your child must quarantine for 14 days, or have a negative PCR test at day 7 or later, in order to return to school and other activities

Test Type 2: In-School PCR Testing

We may administer in-school PCR response tests in the following situations:

  • Testing students/staff with symptoms after they have tested negative using an antigen test or in the absence of an antigen test. *Symptomatic students and staff will be required to quarantine at home until a negative result is received.

  • Testing a large number of students or staff members in order for them to leave quarantine

All testing is voluntary and will require consent. Sharing of information about your child will only be done for public health purposes and in accordance with applicable law and policies protecting student privacy and the security of your child’s data. We will send detailed information and separate registration form as we get closer to implementation. To learn more about response testing visit the VT AOE Testing Homepage or contact NCSU School Nurse Leader & Co-COVID Coordinator Lindy Perry at lindy.perry@ncsuvt.org

If you have questions regarding the COVID-19 Testing Program reach out to your school nurse, school principal or me directly.

Sincerely,

John A. Castle

NCSU Superintendent of Schools