COVID-19 Testing

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Arlington Public Schools strongly encourages all students and staff to sign up for free weekly COVID testing as part of our overall pandemic strategy to keep each other safe.

Students and staff are screened using an individual PCR test that is pooled for efficiency and timeliness. As rapid antigen tests become more widely available the program will begin to shift the testing methodology.

In the weekly testing program, all participants who sign up are given a soft cotton swab to insert into their nose on both sides approximately 1.5 inches. The cotton swab is then placed in an individual test kit labeled with the participants name and date of birth. This sample is then scanned for COVID-19 using a ‘matrix’ pooled testing process at the ResourcePath laboratory with no more than 6 other participants.

In the figure below, the matrix process is shown to be able to identify the individual sample that is positive (e.g., Student B). That individual sample will then be run a second time by itself to confirm the positive test results with 100% certainty. Other participants in the pool will not be required to quarantine.

1 2
A Student A Student D
B Student B Student E
C Student C Student F

A weekly testing program has proven to be successful across the country in K-12 settings to keep students in the classroom and schools open; stopping outbreaks before COVID-19 has spread to too many students.

To participate, ResourcePath needs a signed consent form from a parent/guardian or student of legal age. Consent forms can be found on the ResourcePath website.  ResourcePath also maintains availability by appointment for symptomatic and back to school exposure clearance at Kenmore Middle School.

View Testing Schedule

Symptomatic PCR-RT test results are typically available 24 to 48 hours and are emailed to parents. For those students or staff who test positive, the laboratory Medical Director will call directly to relay the results and provide specific advice regarding further action.

APS is providing the free testing in partnership with ResourcePath, a CLIA-licensed and College of American Pathologists accredited molecular diagnostics laboratory.

Walk-up testing sites after school hours at Kenmore Middle and Wakefield High Schools provide trained staff to assist in mid-nasal swab testing using the RT-PCR test: https://www.resourcepath.net/covid-19-testing-at-aps/


Asymptomatic Testing – How It Works

Arlington Public Schools in partnership with ResourcePath conducts asymptomatic strategized surveillance testing.  Testing is conducted efficiently and safely, without compromising sensitivity or rapid identification of positive individuals.  This means that in less time laboratories are able to identify more positive cases with less resources.  This testing is conducted using PCR pooling to identify asymptomatic based spread in schools.  This program requires that parents opt into the program using the existing intake and consent forms labeled weekly surveillance testing located on the Resource Path websitePool testing or pooled testing—means combining the same type of specimen from several people and conducting one laboratory test on the combined pool of specimens to detect SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.  Positive results require the individuals in that pool to be retested individually to determine which individual(s) are positive.  Pooling reduces the amount of time required to test large numbers of students without limiting effectiveness.

More information on pool based PCR testing:

  • Pooling specimens allows the laboratory to test more individuals using fewer testing materials. Pooling is safe and effective and can also increase efficiency and reduce the cost of testing.
  • Pooling reduces test sensitivity to ensure an accurate baseline for all pooled samples.
  • Pooling is a testing methodology that can be used when performing Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests (NAATs) provided the test has received an FDA authorization for pooling.

Strategized Surveillance Program Overview

  • Students participating in testing will be able to administer the PCR mid-nasal swab with the support and supervision of a provider. It is a quick and easy process that takes place at a set time weekly for their school.
  • At the laboratory, technicians will receive the individual PCR mid-nasal swabs from the school and create a pool not exceed 6 students and run as a group through one laboratory test, preserving the original individual test collected.  This method of testing does not impact the integrity of individual samples collected.
  • If a pool comes up positive, the lab uses an formula to determine which samples to test for confirmation of which student(s) are positive. These confirmation results will be followed up with a running of the individual sample(s) identified to confirm positive status.
  • As a precaution, all students identified in the pool will be excluded from in person instruction and activities while results are confirmed.  Families receive definitive confirmation of the positive results after individual sample(s) are confirmed within 12-24 hours.
  • Students in the pool will not need to quarantine during this process unless they are identified as a suspected case using the algorithm on the pooled samples.

Testing Schedule

Staff required to participate in weekly surveillance as part of their exemption from the vaccination mandate should get tested during their two hour time block for their work location.  If an employee misses their two hour block they may go the immediate next day to at comprehensive high school (e.g., Wakefield, Washington-Liberty, Yorktown) between 3:30 PM and 6:30 PM.

School Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Abingdon Elementary School 7:30-9:30
Alice West Fleet Elementary School 8:30 – 10:30
Arlington Career Center 7:30- 9:30
Arlington Community High School 11:30-1:30
Arlington Science Focus School 8:30-10:30
Arlington Traditional School 1:30-3:30
Ashlawn Elementary School 2:00-4:00
Barcroft Elementary School 11:30-1:30
Campbell Elementary School 10:30- 12:30
Cardinal Elementary School 10:00-12:00
Carlin Springs Elementary School 1:30-3:00
Claremont Immersion 1:00-4:00
Discovery  Elementary School 11:30-1:30
Dorothy Hamm Middle School 7:30-9:30
Dr. Charles R. Drew Elementary School 10:00-12:00
Escuela Key School 12:00 – 2:00
Eunice Shriver Program 1:00-1:30
Glebe Elementary School 2:00-4:00
Gunston Middle School 7:30-11:00
H-B Woodlawn Secondary 2:00-4:30
Hoffman Boston Elementary School 8:30-10:30
Innovation Elementary School 11:30-1:30
Jamestown  Elementary School 8:30-10:30
Kenmore Middle School 10:00-12:00
KW Barrett  Elementary School 10:30-12:30
Langston and New Directions 2:00-3:30
Long Branch  Elementary School 8:00-10:00
Montessori Public School of Arlington 2:00-4:00
Nottingham Elementary School 11:30-1:30
Oakridge Elementary School 12:00-2:00
Randolph Elementary School 1:30-3:30
Swanson Middle School 7:30-9:30
Syphax Education Center 2:00-4:00
Taylor Elementary School 2:00-4:00
Thomas Jefferson Middle School 7:30-9:30
Trades Center 2:30-4:00
Tuckahoe Elementary School 8:30-10:30
Wakefield High School 10:30-6:30 10:30-6:30 10:30-6:30 10:30-6:30 10:30-6:30
Washington-Liberty High School 10:30-6:30 10:30-6:30 10:30-6:30 10:30-6:30 10:30-6:30
Williamsburg Middle School 10:00-1:00
Yorktown High School 10:30-6:30 10:30-6:30 10:30-6:30 10:30-6:30 10:30-6:30

Discontinue Participation (opt-out)

Students and staff who wish to discontinue participation in voluntary strategized surveillance testing through ResourcePath may do so by providing their request in writing to ResourcePath via the following link: apsvassurveillanceoptout.  Parents/Guardians should enter their student ID number by using S plus the number (e.g., S1234567) instead of just the number (e.g., 1234567).  Opt out requests are processed every Thursday at 5 PM for the following week.

 

 


About ResourcePath

ResourcePath is a CLIA-licensed and College of American Pathologists (CAP)-accredited high complexity laboratory specializing in pathologic consulting and molecular diagnostics. ResourcePath combines expertise in research and development to address important diagnostic needs in oncology and emerging infectious diseases.

ResourcePath has performed over 90,000 RT-PCR tests for clients in Northern Virginia and supports Arlington County Free Testing Events, multiple Long Term Care Facilities, and other congregate care facilities in Arlington County. They also offer daily drive-up testing services at its laboratory in Sterling.