LITTLETON — Superintendent Kelly Clenchy announces that pooled COVID-19 testing of students and staff in all Littleton Public Schools began on Monday, Feb. 8.
School teams have worked hard to establish protocols, and each school prioritized the students’ developmental levels while considering individual student needs. All health and safety protocols will be followed strictly during testing.
The district on Jan. 28 decided to pursue pooled testing, with a target start date of Feb. 8. Parents registered their children, and staff members were invited to register as well. Principals had their lists of participating students on Thursday, in advance of the Monday launch.
With a very quick turnaround time, “It took a very coordinated effort among the nurses, the building administrators and the director of pupil personnel services, but we did it,” said Cheryl Temple, principal at Russell Street School.
Pool testing at Russell Street was efficient, with the school nurse and administrative team stopping at each classroom. Students, in grades 3-5, were given clear directions and guided through the testing process.
“I don’t think it could really have gone any better for the first time doing this,” said Andrea Romano, Interim Assistant Principal at Russell Street School. “It’s just another example of how we rise to the occasion as a school community in Littleton!”
All students will be tested on Mondays and Thursdays. Here is when each school is conducting testing:
Littleton High School: Students will be tested during their lunch period.
Littleton Middle School: Grade 6 students will be tested from 7:30 to 7:50 a.m.; Four-day students will participate in the Monday collection. Students in Grades 7 and 8 will be tested from 7:15 to 7:35 a.m.
Russell Street School: During the first week, students’ samples will be collected outside each classroom at the start of the school day. They will see a demonstration of the new procedure and receive their assigned pool number. Starting in the second week, students will be tested at arrival in the main corridor. Staff will be available to help students. Students will be rotated among the pools.
Shaker Lane School: Pool collection will occur from 9-10 a.m. for full-day and A.M. Kindergarten students, and at 12:15 p.m. for P.M. Kindergarten students. Staff will help students with collecting their specimens. Students will be rotated among the pools.
The district asks parents and guardians of younger students to review the process of collecting a nasal swab with their child. It is a very simple, shallow swab. Here is a helpful video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJML8xBEKGk&feature=youtu.be
Testing protocols and times at all schools may be adjusted as needed.
Students must be present during the collection times to participate. All tests will be sealed for delivery following the collection period. Samples will be tested at The Broad Institute at MIT, which converted part of its Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments-certified lab into a high-throughput COVID-19 testing facility.