Greetings Pirate Families and Staff-
I’m reaching out today with absolutely fantastic news-As of yesterday, Galena School District was granted permission to commence free rapid COVID tests for our students and staff. This measure has the potential to drastically reduce the amount of students and staff who are quarantined and allow us to offer in-person instruction for as long as possible. With that being said, there is a limited scope that we are allowed to use it. This is not an opportunity to screen all students and staff, this is an opportunity to minimize the quarantine of household members while they are awaiting results of a positive test or displaying symptoms.
More detailed information is below, but here is what you need to know about rapid testing:
- Students or staff with fever (100.4 or higher) or loss of taste/smell will need to take a RT-PCR COVID test (standard COVID test) if the rapid test is negative.
- Only symptomatic Galena students and staff are eligible. This test is NOT for asymptomatic people, regardless of exposure.
- Appointments only from 8:30am-9:30am by calling (815) 777-2413, ext. 3. No testing will take place outside of that window.
- All testing takes place at the Galena Middle School front parking lot. Do not leave your car.
- Siblings and household members must be kept out of school until results are negative.
- You will receive a call with the result later that day. If negative, asymptomatic members of the household may return to school. The student/staff member with symptoms will need to stay home until 24hours without symptoms or alternative diagnosis.
IMPORTANT – Parent Consent is required to rapid test
First of all, please understand that no student will be required to take one of these rapid tests. The only students who will receive the Rapid PCR COVID-19 Tests are those who volunteer to do so. In order to “volunteer” your child for this rapid testing opportunity, parents are required to provide permission with this waiver.
If you would like more information about the Rapid PCR COVID-19 Testing, please read the following frequently asked questions:
What is the purpose of Rapid PCR COVID-19 Testing?
As mentioned, this is great news for the Galena School District. We now have access to Rapid PCR COVID-19 Tests that will allow a certified nurse to administer a COVID test on school grounds, then get results in less than 15 minutes. The purpose of acquiring these tests is to be able to test students and staff who are exhibiting one or more COVID symptoms. This will significantly assist us in the constant battle we are fighting against “quarantined” staff and students.
Who can receive these Rapid PCR COVID-19 Tests?
There are two criteria for who can receive these rapid tests:
- You must be a Galena School District Student or Staff/Staff Family Member
- You must be currently symptomatic
- COVID-19 symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.
Who CANNOT receive these Rapid PCR COVID-19 Tests?
Any person who is asymptomatic.
Is there any cost to students or staff for these Rapid PCR COVID-19 Tests?
When will Rapid PCR COVID-19 testing begin?
Tuesday, December 1st.
Where and when will Rapid PCR COVID-19 Testing occur?
For students who are at home and have symptoms, or are already quarantined with symptoms, we will provide a drive-up service in the middle school drive through from 8:30-9:30 every day.
Who will administer Rapid PCR COVID-19 Test to students?
Emily Rowe, our school nurse, will perform the tests. She has completed the required training to perform this specific test.
What is the actual process for being “Rapid Tested?”
If you consent, your child will receive a free, rapid, diagnostic test for the COVID-19 virus. Collecting a specimen for testing involves inserting a small swab, similar to a Q-tip, into the front of the nose (less than one inch).
If you do not consent, your family will be quarantined, based on IDPH guidelines, until a negative COVID-19 test result is received, an alternative diagnosis, or a 10-day quarantine from the start of symptoms. You will then have the option to take your child, at your expense, to a COVID-19 test provider of your choice.
How often would the school test my child?
Your child would only be tested if and when he or she exhibited one or more symptoms of COVID-19. Again, this is a voluntary test.
How will I know if my child tests positive?
The school nurse will have results within 15 minutes of the test, and he or she will notify parents that same day.
What happens if my child’s Rapid PCR COVID-19 test is negative?
With a negative test result, we would send your child home if the symptoms warrant they be out of school based on our normal school policies. We would not have to quarantine your child while waiting for COVID-19 results due to our access to rapid tests and your permission on this form. Additionally, under the current IDPH guidelines, if one member of the household has one or more COVID-19 symptoms, the entire household has to be quarantined. By testing your child with symptoms at school, using a rapid test, a negative result would prevent your family from quarantining.
What happens if my child’s Rapid PCR COVID-19 test is positive?
With a positive test result, students would be sent home and quarantined. This rapid test would provide us the ability to begin the contact tracing protocol immediately, therefore reducing the exposure to others.
How can the school share this medical information with the health department?
Updated laws, passed due to COVID-19, allow some information about your child to be shared with the Jo Daviess County Health Department as well as the Illinois Department of Public Health. Information shared includes your child’s name, COVID-19 test results, date of birth/age, after school or other program participation, names of other family members or guardians, address, phone number, and email address.
What are the actual steps/procedures for being tested?
If a student develops symptoms, the following page identifies the steps we will follow in order for him or her to be “rapid tested.”
|RAPID COVID-19 Testing Procedures for Students|
|If the student is at school when one or more COVID symptoms develop …|
|#1||The building nurse checks to see if the parents have given consent for testing. Consent forms are required to move forward with testing.|
|#2||Parents will be notified of the test result by phone.|
|#3||If negative, the student can return as long as they have been fever free for 24 hours and they have the nurse’s approval.|
|#4||If positive, the Jo Daviess County Health Department will be notified. Building administration will follow contact tracing protocols.|
|If the student is called off with one or more COVID symptoms and wants a Rapid COVID test …|
|#1||Parents can call to schedule a drive through appointment at Galena Middle School by calling (815) 777-2413 and pressing “3” for Ben Soat. Tests will be administered between 8:30-9:30 daily.|
|#2||Nurse/secretary/principal will schedule a drive up appointment between 8:30-9:30.|
|#4||If negative, the student can return as long as they have been fever free for 24 hours and they have building nurse’s approval.|
|#5||If positive, the Jo Daviess County Health Department will be notified. Administration will start the contact tracing, if needed.|
Whom do I contact if I have questions about rapid testing?
If you have questions, please email the District Superintendent, Tim Vincent at email@example.com or call (815) 777-3086.
Can I have more information on the test performed?
The fact sheet below provides substantial information about the COVID-19 rapid test.