At Barnstable Public Schools, keeping your students safe and in school is our top priority. We have learned a great deal over this past year and our current guidance and procedures reflect the most updated recommendations from the CDC and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
For the 2021-22 school year, we are offering an extra layer of protection to prevent the spread of COVID-19, our COVID-19 testing program at school:
symptomatic testing for students who show symptoms of COVID-19 at school and;
test and stay for students who may have been exposed while in school but are not showing symptoms.
Each of these is a quick, non-invasive nasal swab that is collected under the supervision of a school nurse or trained health provider. Unlike COVID-19 tests of the past, these are not uncomfortable.
Symptomatic testing is used when a student is showing symptoms of COVID-19 during school; students should not come to school if they are feeling sick while at home. Some symptoms of the virus look identical to other illnesses like the cold or flu, and this test tells us whether a symptomatic student has COVID-19 or not. This is a rapid test, and we receive the results of this test within 15 minutes. If a student has symptoms and is tested at school, they will need to go home, regardless of the test result. Students with a negative test result will need to be seen by a medical provider for a PCR COVID-19 test and to rule out other illnesses.
Test and Stay
Test and stay allows students who have had close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 while at school to stay in school if the student is not showing symptoms. Instead of needing to quarantine and miss school, these students will take a daily rapid test while they remain in school as long as they are not symptomatic. Students participate in test and stay for at least five days after they may have been exposed.
If a student tests positive for COVID-19, they must isolate at home for the CDC-recommended ten days since symptoms appeared or ten days since the positive test before returning to school. The student must also be without a fever for 24 hours.
Students only participate with permission from a parent or guardian. To participate in the program:
It is our hope that these measures will work together to keep our schools safe and your child in school. Thanks again for your support during this challenging time. We look forward to welcoming your students back to the classroom.