District 58 offers optional COVID-19 testing option

District 58 offers optional COVID-19 testing option

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends regular testing as an effective COVID-19 prevention strategy. Regular testing helps schools promptly identify asymptomatic individuals to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

This school year, District 58 will offer unvaccinated students and staff the opportunity for voluntary free PCR COVID-19 testing. Northshore Clinical Laboratories will facilitate this testing. Northshore is a CLIA-licensed lab that has serviced diagnostic needs for Chicagoland physicians and medical providers for nearly 30 years. They currently provide COVID-19 testing services for several local school districts, including schools in Morton Grove, Glencoe, Wilmette, Winnetka and Northfield.

District 58 families: If you would like your child to participate in District 58’s optional COVID-19 testing program, please complete this brief form by Thursday, Aug. 19. District 58 staff: you will receive more information and a staff interest form at the end of next week. Additional information and an enrollment form will be shared if sufficient community interest is received.

Northshore maintains strict confidentiality of all information, data and/or records relating to District 58 students, staff and other employees and only discloses such information in accordance with federal, state and local law and regulations.  Northshore agrees to only collect information (medical or otherwise) about students, staff and other employees to the extent necessary to fulfill its stated duties.  They store and process student, staff and other employee information in accordance with industry best practices. This includes appropriate administrative, physical and technical safeguards to secure such information from unauthorized access, disclosure and use.

The weekly PCR specimen collection technique would be a simple nasal swab.  A swab contains a soft tip on a long, flexible stick that is inserted about a half inch into the nose. The swab is gently inserted into each nostril and rotated against the nasal membrane (wall) to collect mucus. After collection, the swab is sealed in a tube and then sent to a laboratory.  The PCR test is the most accurate test available for COVID-19 detection.

District 58 health staff would partner with Northshore Clinical Laboratories health staff to complete the process for students and staff at each of our 13 buildings.  Start to finish, the test is about 3-5 minutes per student and test results are available as early as 24 hours after sample collection, and are reported to the parent/guardian and district via email.  There is no cost to families or the district and no insurance companies are billed. 

The DuPage County Health Department is exploring a “test to stay” protocol to limit time out of the classroom for students. If the Health Department approves it, the “test to stay” option could permit unvaccinated students who are close contacts to voluntarily get COVID-19 tested on a daily basis while still attending school, in lieu of quarantining at home. Per the CDC, school districts can only offer this option in instances where mask wearing has been strictly followed.  The local health department maintains the ultimate authority in determining who is to quarantine and for how long.

Voluntary Proof of Vaccination 

District 58 invites families to voluntarily share an electronic image of their child’s vaccination card with their building’s health office. Providing proof of vaccination is not required.  However, current CDC guidance excuses fully vaccinated individuals from having to quarantine unless symptomatic. By sharing a copy of your child’s card, if your child is a close contact, having the vaccination card on hand will expedite the school’s investigation process.  Copies of proof of vaccination will be kept in each student’s individual health file and treated in the same way as all health records.