Parents Asked to “Say Yes” to Screening, Rapid COVID Tests
One significant mitigation tactic MCPS is using this fall is random COVID-19 screening tests and rapid testing across grades. The district, in partnership with the Maryland Department of Health, is offering COVID tests to students at no cost. Testing requires parent consent so MCPS is asking parents to “Say Yes to the Test.”
MCPS believes that providing COVID-19 rapid testing in all schools will help minimize student quarantines. The use of these rapid (antigen) tests, in conjunction with other safety measures, will help keep more students in school.
Screening Testing—The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends random asymptomatic COVID-19 testing because it detects and can limit the spread of the virus, even in the absence of visible symptoms. The random screening test program utilizes PCR tests for laboratory testing and results are typically available within 24-48 hours.
Rapid Testing—Staff from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will determine whether a COVID-19 rapid test should be administered when a student presents to a health room with potential COVID-19 symptoms. These antigen tests will be administered through nasal swabs and results will be available within 15-20 minutes.
If a parent/guardian has already submitted a consent form for the COVID-19 Screening Test Program, no further action is required. MCPS will accept consent forms received for the screening test program as consent for rapid testing. Consent for both the random screening test program and rapid testing have been consolidated onto one form. A separate form must be completed for each child. Participation is voluntary.