Pooled Testing

TO: RSU 63 PARENTS, STUDENTS, STAFF, and COMMUNITY MEMBERS
FROM:  SUSAN SMITH, SUPERINTENDENT/DIRECTOR of CURRICULUM & INSTR.
RE:  POOLED TESTING
DATE:  MONDAY, AUGUST 30, 2021

RSU 63 seeks to maintain a safe environment for students, staff, and the community. To support that goal, we will be participating in a COVID-19 Pooled Testing program.  Pooled testing is very important when it comes to keeping students in school.  Pooled testing is optional and free for all RSU 63 employees (including drivers) and students who attend the Eddington, Holden, and Holbrook Schools.  This quick NewsCenter Maine clip explains Pooled Testing.

We recently received word from Concentric by Ginko that we can start Pooled Testing as early as Tuesday, September 7th.  We are working as quickly as possible to gather consent forms, register students and staff, receive supplies, and create pool groups. 

We are asking families and staff members to participate in this program to help safeguard the wellbeing of our entire school community. To register, please follow the link and the steps below.

Pooled testing will occur in RSU 63 on Tuesdays. The registration and consent process should take no more than 5 minutes to complete using a computer or a smartphone.

To Register a Minor/Student:

  1. First, click here (https://testcenter.concentricbyginkgo.com/minor-consent). This is the link to register a student.
  2. Enter your child’s information and their school’s access code:
    1. Eddington’s code is 2MF8WL
    2. Holden’s code is UZW187
    3. Holbrook’s code is G4A8XL
  3. Read and sign the consent form.   

Note: If you need to provide consent for more than one child, please complete the process once for each child.

For Staff to Register:

  1. First, click here (https://testcenter.concentricbyginkgo.com/invite-by-code). This is the code for people over 18.
  2. Enter one of the RSU 63 schools’ access code: 
    1. Eddington’s code is 2MF8WL
    2. Holden’s code is UZW187
    3. Holbrook’s code is G4A8XL
  3.  Read and sign the consent form.   

Only students and staff with completed on-line consent forms are able to participate in testing.  Pools will be determined based on school and grade level.  If you do not want your family to participate, your student will not be included in the testing program.  However, you may sign your student up at any time throughout the school year. 

RSU 63 will be using a rapid antigen test to provide “quick tests” for any individual in a positive pool.  BinaxNOW rapid testing will be used only for follow-up rapid testing in the event of a positive pool.

Below is information from the Maine DOE regarding COVID testing in schools.  Additional information can be found in this attachment: School Testing FAQ  

What is pooled testing?
Pooling can test 25 people using one test. All students in a class or group (called the pool) swab their own nose and place their swab in a single tube (that’s the pooling step). The samples in that tube are then run as a single sample, using one pool test.  IF the pool tests positive for COVID-19, everyone in that pool is tested using the BinaxNOW rapid test. 

Why pooled testing? Why should my student participate?
You know the old saying: “knowledge is power.” Tools like pooled testing empower us to make better decisions. Without knowing the specific prevalence of COVID-19 in our school, it’s tough for us to make informed decisions about safeguarding our school community, returning to school, or continuing in-person learning.  Testing empowers us to make these informed decisions and allows students, teachers, and staff to come to school with peace of mind.