Student-Athlete, Extracurricular Organization Pooled Testing
The Lancaster ISD Health Services team is continuously monitoring the impact of COVID-19 within our district, city, and county. Additionally, we have implemented health and safety measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within our school district. As we strive to keep our student-athletes and students participatig in extracurricular organizations healthy during the fall season, we are enhancing our COVID-19 protocols within our athletic and fine arts departments, and student organizations. As part of our health and safety protocols, Lancaster ISD will be implementing pooled COVID-19 testing for our in-season student-athletes and extracurricular student organizations. This health and safety enhancement will add an additional layer of protection for our student as they continue to travel and compete against teams throughout the metroplex and perform and participate in different events.
Pooled testing of students currently in sports or an extracurricular activity will begin this week. Families are encouraged to register as soon as possible so there is no delay for students participating in upcoming games or events. We will conduct pooled testing by sport or organization, and the Lancaster ISD Health Services team will determine the time and date of testing.
Parents must register their student for pooled testing. Please click the link below to download and fill out the registration form and submit it to the coach or sponsor of your child's team or organization as soon as possible. The health services team must have a consent form on file to begin the testing, and students must be tested before being cleared to participate in weekly competitions or events.
If a student tests positive during pooled testing, the Lancaster ISD Health Services team will follow our COVID-19 positive case protocols, including mandatory quarantine for the individual that tested positive and close contact tracing.
If you have any additional questions, please email the Lancaster ISD Health Serviced Team at email@example.com.
Frequently Asked Questions for Students, Parents and Families About the Pooled Testing Program
What are the benefits of pooled testing when staff and some students are now being vaccinated?
While children that are 12 and older are eligible to be vaccinated, there are many families that are hesitant or concerned about vaccinating their child, which will delay herd immunity among children 12 and over. Currently, children under the age of 12 are not eligible for the vaccine. While we know the vaccines are highly effective, there are “breakthrough” cases of COVID-19. These cases could impact other people. The pooled test is a PCR test, which is considered the “gold standard” of COVID-19 testing. It can detect the virus at incredibly low levels, catching COVID-19 asymptomatic individuals before they become symptomatic.
How is pooled testing conducted?
Students that participate in pooled testing are tested weekly. On testing day, the students participating will each be given a short swab by a member of the Lancaster ISD Health Services Team. Students will have the option to swab themselves with trained staff supervision. The swab is short, and it is a shallow swabbing process comparable to picking one’s nose. Each nostril is swabbed four times per nostril. The whole process takes 15 minutes or less and allows us to test students at no cost to families or the school district.
What is the PCR testing method?
The PCR testing method is completed on the swabs. This method is more sensitive in identifying positive cases as opposed to the rapid antigen tests. Results are returned to the school within 48 hours. Students do NOT need to quarantine while waiting for pooled test results unless they are showing signs and symptoms of COVID-19. All student information sent to the outside lab is completely confidential.
Who will be processing the PCR test that students will be taking?
What happens when there is a positive in the pool?
If a positive case is identified, the positive individual will have to be isolated for 10 days and contact tracing will be completed to determine any close contacts on the team or school.
What is the advantage of my child participating in pooled testing?
The advantage of pooled testing is that the process will allow for early identification of a positive COVID-19 case and ultimately mitigate the spread of the virus.
Do individuals in a positive pool need to quarantine while they are awaiting individual-level test results?
No, not unless they are symptomatic.
Do families need to register and complete consent forms each week a pooled test is conducted?
No. Parent/guardian consent forms only need to be completed once for participation in the program. The consent form is universal and covers pooled testing and any required follow-up testing.
Must my child get tested to attend extracurricular sports activities?
Yes. COVID-19 tests are required to participate in extracurricular sports activities and other school sports activities.
Is my child exempt if they are fully vaccinated?
No. All student-athletes must be tested due to the high transmissibility and infectiousness of COVID-19 and particularly the Delta Variant.
How will the School protect my child’s privacy?
Testing results will be shared only for public health purposes, which may include notifying close contacts that they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and taking other steps to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in your school community. Information sharing and notifying of contacts will be done in a way that protects your child’s privacy and does not reveal their name or other personally identifiable information. Sharing of information about your child will only be done in accordance with applicable law and policies protecting student privacy and the security of your child’s data.
Can my student use an antigen test instead?
No. PCR tests are significantly more accurate than antigen and other recently developed tests and given the elevated risk of infection that accompanies many sports, PCR tests are the best way to promptly and immediately remove any infected students.
What is the Cost?
Students and parents are not responsible for any costs arising from these tests unless they elect to receive a PCR test from another provider.
How frequently will my student be tested?
If the student wishes to continue participating in extracurricular sports activities, they must be tested weekly until the District determines the risk of infection has sufficiently declined.
My student has breathing problems. Can he/she prove their health with an alternative test?
Students who experience a physical or mental impairment that affects one or more major life function (e.g. walking, driving, etc.) may request an accommodation by submitting a form at HealthServices@Lancasterisd.org. Students may be asked to substantiate their impairment if it is non-obvious by providing a medical professional’s opinion regarding the necessity of an accommodation, in accordance with ADA guidelines.
I have another question that is not answered here. Who can I ask?
The Lancaster ISD Department of Health Services will be happy to assist you with any questions. You may contact the Department by emailing HealthServices@LancasterISD.org.