Pooled Testing Now Available

Dear parents, guardians and students,

Thank you for your continued partnership during this unprecedented school year and Lowell Middlesex Academy Charter School (LMACS) will continue to need your support as we prepare to return to our in person hybrid model. In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we have been working closely with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) to implement a free COVID-19 pooled testing program for students and staff at our school.

The purpose of this letter is to ask your permission to regularly test your child as part of a pooled testing program at our school. Pooled testing involves mixing several individuals’ test samples together into one “pool” and then testing the pooled sample for COVID-19. This approach increases the number of individuals that can be tested at one time and allows us to regularly test our school community for COVID-19.

The pooled tests will be performed at least once per week with a shallow nasal swab for all participating students and staff members. Schools will receive the pool results within 24-48 hours. If the result of the pool is negative, then all individuals are presumed to not have COVID-19. If the result of the pool is positive, then all individuals in the pool must be retested individually. Because pooled testing does not give individual results, you will only be notified if your child requires follow-up testing. Our school will be providing the Abbott BinaxNOW Rapid Antigen Diagnostic Tests for follow-up testing, so that students or staff in a positive pool can be tested as soon as possible and receive individual results in 15 minutes.
Our staff has been thoroughly trained on how to administer pooled testing, as well as the Abbott BinaxNOW Rapid Antigen Diagnostic Tests, if they are needed for follow-up testing. LMACS will call you if your child is part of a positive pool and requires follow-up testing. LMACS will also notify you of the individual follow-up test results and if your child is positive or negative and what to do in each scenario.

LMACS will report all follow-up test results to DPH. LMACS will also provide positive follow-up test results (without names or other identifying information) to DESE’s Rapid Response Help Unit.

To give permission for your student to participate in the COVID-19 Pooled Testing Program at our school, including consent to transmit student information via the pooled testing technology platform, consent for any necessary follow up tests, and consent to share the test result information with the Department of Public Health and Project Beacon, please fill out the paper consent form that is attached to this letter and return to LMACS in the enclosed stamp addressed envelope.

At LMACS we are extremely grateful to our committed staff and families that continue to show great flexibility and resilience as we navigate through this school year. It takes all of us working together to contain the spread of this virus. LMACS is excited to add pooled testing as another mitigation strategy for our school community.

If you have questions regarding the COVID-19 Pooled Testing Program, please reach out to the LMACS school nurse, Amy Hendl at 978-656-3461 or email hendla@middlesex.mass.edu .