Vermont Conducts Routine COVID Testing of K12 Teachers and Staff
- By Dian Schaffhauser
state of Vermont has implemented a plan to increase "surveillance
testing," which tests asymptomatic populations to find the virus
in the community more quickly. To set a baseline, public health
officials have begun routine testing of K-12 teachers and staff. All
of the testing is voluntary, and those who undergo it won't need to
quarantine. There are no plans to expand testing to students at this
the Thanksgiving break, there will be a regular rotating schedule,
offering testing to teachers and staff in a quarter of Vermont
schools each week, so every teacher and staff member will be offered
testing once per month.
said that state officials don't consider school employees "at a
higher risk of contracting COVID-19 than other people." It's
just that they view school personnel as reflective of their
communities. The testing is a surveillance strategy to help identify
cases--especially cases where people never develop symptoms--thereby
helping to reduce the risk of clusters or outbreaks and supporting
the state's efforts to continue and even expand in-person learning
process will use what the state referred to as the "more
reliable PCR tests." These nasal swab tests detect the virus'
genetic material, versus antigen tests, which detect specific
proteins from the virus.
state estimated that 25,000 people could be tested through the K-12
surveillance program. The tests will be made available to all public
schools and some private schools, based on location and size of
testing will be done by CIC
of Cambridge, MA.
a population of 624,000, the state has issued a total of 480,000
tests among 202,000 people. Among the 3,104 cases that have occurred,
just under 2 percent, 59 people, have died.
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @schaffhauser.