Dear Parents and Staff,
We are distributing information this week to you about the GRF Covid-19 Testing Program that we will be implementing in partnership with the University of Illinois Shield Illinois Program.
We are still in the planning stage with Shield Illinois. The process has multiple steps and will take some time to move into full implementation. In fact, I have a planning meeting this morning with our provider to work out the logistics of testing.
I would like to share with you the two-fold purpose of the GRF Covid-19 Testing Program.
(1)The purpose of the GRF Covid-19 Saliva based weekly Testing Program is to identify those individuals who are positive for Covid-19 but are in the asymptomatic stage but can still transmit Covid-19 to others; and
(2) The purpose of the GRF Covid-19 BinaxNow nurse administered program is to test those individuals who have two or more Covid-19 symptoms at school. We anticipate with cold/flu/allergy season, many illnesses will not be Covid-19, and by offering the testing of symptomatic individuals will significantly reduce the number of absences and offer a convenient testing option for parents and staff.
Below is the information that I know at this time:
- Date of implementation is targeted for October 4th. If this date should change, I will notify you.
- HR Support is our testing provider. The provider will be administering saliva based Covid-19 tests weekly. They will collect the samples, transport samples to the lab, and parent/district will receive results via email or text of the Covid-19 saliva test in 24 hours or less.
- Our district nursing professionals have a supply of BinaxNow tests on site. Our nurses may administer those Covid-19 tests to individuals who are experiencing two or more Covid-19 symptoms. That means, if your child is ill, you may schedule an appointment with your child's school nurse to have your child tested. The model will be that you will transport your student to your school building, remain in your car, and the nurse will administer the test. BinaxNow is a rapid test. Results will be reported to you within an hour.
- Student Consent Opt-Out Forms will be going home this week and are due to your child's school office by Wednesday, September 15, 2021. The student consent forms are an Opt-Out of the GRF Testing Program. If you Do Not Want Your Child Tested, then sign the form, and return it to your child's school. If you would like your child to participate in the GRF Testing Program, then you will not need to do anything further.
Thank you for your patience in this process! I began this process in March of this year. I feel very fortunate to be within weeks of bringing the GRF Testing Process to the district to reduce absenteeism and to provide a convenient, free, and rapid testing process to students and staff. It is important to note that the recent Governor Executive Order requiring non-vaccinated public education employees to be tested weekly will increase the demand on testing supplies and providers. I cannot predict the impact of the pandemic and the changes in guidance from the State of Illinois, but I do commit to you to continue to work on supporting our community. My sincere hope is that we can continue to work together to keep our students and staff safe and continuing with in-person learning. Please contact me with any questions.
Jean M. Neal, Ed.D., CSBO
Georgetown-Ridge Farm CUSD #4
500 Mulberry Street
Georgetown, IL 61846