Dear Parents and Guardians,
We know that last year was tough, but we’re excited to have students back 5 days a week this fall. We are committed to taking the steps necessary to help us stay safe while in school. As part of the steps to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep our school open for in-person learning, we will offer a free COVID-19 Testing Program for students and staff at Falls Elementary School. Regular testing will help protect our students, staff, family members, and others who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 or are otherwise at risk for getting seriously sick from COVID-19.
Through this program, we will be able to identify COVID-19 cases quickly and early, which can help us stop an outbreak before it happens. This will help us keep students in the classroom and able to take part in the school activities they love.
· Who can be tested? We will offer testing to everyone—all students and staff—even if they don’t have symptoms of COVID-19.
o This is a voluntary program and no student will be tested without parental consent. Parents that would like their child tested on a weekly basis will need to sign the consent form and return it to school. This consent can be withdrawn at any time with a written request. Results are confidential and you would be notified of results following the test.
· How is the testing done? The COVID-19 testing is free, quick, and easy. Members of our school staff will oversee testing with Cue or Binax tests, which includes:
o Cue test – This is a test for non-symptomatic individuals. It is a nasal swab test in which a trained staff member would gently swab the inner part of the lower nostril. This test is not painful. We do not use the longer swabs that reach higher into the nose. The test is put in a reader that takes about 10 minutes to read the test. Results would be reported to the parent of the child being tested. This is the test that will be done weekly.
o BinaxNow Professional – This is a test for individuals who become symptomatic at school. It is a nasal swab test in which a trained staff member would gently swab the inner part of the lower nostril. This test is not painful. We do not use the longer swabs that reach higher into the nose. This would be used if a student was ill and the parent consented for the child to be tested. A consent form would need to be signed at the time of the test. It is a quick test with results available shortly after testing.
o BinaxNowOTC – Each student will be sent home with a test that has directions for families to use if a child is symptomatic. These tests will be coming home this Friday with your child. Please collect it from them and store it for use on the child if you desire. This test is only for your child and is to be used if they are symptomatic. If you use the test and the child is negative, they can return to school when symptoms go away. If symptoms persist for more than a day or two, it is recommended that they get an additional test done by a clinic. Proof of the negative test (such as a picture) needs to be emailed to the school if the test was used.
· Where and when is the testing done? Our school’s testing site will be in the FES Health Office and will take place every Tuesday for the individuals registered. (We will increase days as needed.) Results will be available within 30 minutes of the test being administered and the parent will be notified of the results (positive or negative).
· How can I be sure that my child’s information will be protected? Sharing of information about your child will only be done for public health purposes and in accordance with applicable law and policies protecting student privacy and the security of your child’s data.
This attached letter asks your permission for us to weekly test your child as part of a free COVID-19 testing program at school. This is for asymptomatic students. If your child was being sent home with symptoms, you would be asked and need to consent for your child to be tested at that point. To register your child, please return the attached form with your child or drop it off in the FES office.
We are extremely grateful to our committed families and staff who continue to show great flexibility and resilience as we work together to contain the spread of this virus. If you have questions regarding the COVID-19 Testing Program, please reach out to Leah Bacon at
P.S. Families with elementary and high school students: The state is prioritizing elementary schools so Falls High School students will receive a BinaxNowOTC to bring home as soon as they are available.