Keeping you safe and working
We agree that COVID has caused a meaningful disruption to student and staff activities due to required quarantines. The required quarantine of staff who may have been deemed to be close contacts, yet entirely asymptomatic, has caused quite a burden on staff who unnecessarily miss time from work. School districts such as Penn-Delco have come to recognize that quarantines of asymptomatic persons may be better addressed through a Test-to-Stay approach, whereby staff close contacts can remain working as long as they show no symptoms of COVID and test negative for the virus.
We are excited to implement a program that will enable staff without symptoms to continue to attend work while testing negative and following other COVID-prevention steps such as masking. Beginning Monday, if you are identified as a COVID close contact, within school, and are asymptomatic, staff may remain at work provided you participate in the newly approved Test-to-Stay program.
The Test-to-Stay program operates as follows:
- Staff shall be entirely asymptomatic without any signs or symptoms of COVID-19.
- Staff shall wear a mask indoors when at school for the entirety of the Test-to-Stay program, even if all test results are negative.
- Upon notification of an in-school school related exposure of COVID-19, the staff will begin a series of three COVID-19 rapid antigen tests during a 10-day period (between days 1 and 2; days 3 and 4, and days 5 and 7). If there is a challenge in wearing masks, a fourth testing cycle is implemented during days 8 and 10. Further, at any time if COVID-19 symptoms arise in an individual during the first 10 days of close contact, a rapid antigen test will be administered.
- If a positive test occurs, staff need to leave school and isolate for 10 days.
- If feasible, schools will assess the possibility of an alternate location for meals or increased social distancing for participants in the Test-to-Stay Program.
- The Test-to-Stay program is optional for staff and written permission is required to participate.
- BinaxNOW Rapid Antigen Test is used for the program and is administered by trained proctors.
We are excited to add this additional tool to our repertoire of mitigation strategies to combat COVID-19 and to strengthen our support of in-school learning and programming for all our students and stakeholders.
Due to the anticipated increase in work for our school nurses as they manage the Test to Stay option, the weekly assurance testing will only be available to unvaccinated employees. There is little to no evidence of the need to continue testing vaccinated employees through assurance testing protocols. We will begin to implement the Test to Stay strategy and change in assurance testing on Monday, November 8, 2021.