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BPS COVID Test Communication and Consent

BPS COVID Test Communication and Consent

September 7, 2021

Dear BPS Families, 

Thank you for your continued support as we kick off the 2021-2022 school year. At Belmont Public Schools, keeping your students safe and in school is our top priority. We have learned a great deal over this past year and our current guidance and procedures reflect the most updated recommendations from the CDC and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

For the 2021-22 school year, BPS in partnership with CIC is offering an extra layer of protection to prevent the spread of COVID-19, our COVID-19 testing program at school. This program has two components: routine COVID safety checks (formerly known as pooled testing) to prevent the spread of the virus undetected among students who are unvaccinated AND not showing symptoms and Test and Stay for students who may have been exposed while in school but are not showing symptoms. 

Students can only participate with permission (consent on file) from a parent or guardian. It is important to Belmont Public Schools that you are fully informed regarding the process and that we can answer any questions that you might have in advance of asking you to sign the consent form. Below we describe each of the two parts of our testing program, how they are conducted, and what they are used for. 

Routine COVID safety checks (pooled testing)  minimize disruption to learning by helping us catch the potential spread of the virus before it starts. Each student administers the safety check on a weekly basis. 

  • Routine COVID Pooled Testing and Lab-Based Follow-Up Testing: Shallow nasal or saliva samples are collected and kept separate before being grouped at the lab. If a group tests positive, individual Follow-Up testing occurs at the lab, without a second sample collection. Individual test results are reported to the school.

    • The elementary schools will perform the in school nasal collection

    • Middle and High schools will perform a take-home saliva test that will be brought to school for processing by CIC

    • Specific instructions, schedules, and dates of the start of this test program will be provided as they become available

Test and Stay allows students who have had close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 while at school to stay in school if the student is not showing symptoms. Instead of needing to quarantine and miss school, these students will take a daily rapid test while they remain in school as long as they are not symptomatic, and test negative. Students participate in Test and Stay for at least seven (7) days after they may have been exposed.

  • The Test and Stay is a non-invasive nasal swab is collected by a trained health provider. Unlike COVID-19 tests of the past, these are not uncomfortable.  

  • If a student tests positive for COVID-19, they must isolate at home for the CDC-recommended ten (10) days, either since symptoms appeared or since the positive test, before returning to school. The student must also be without a fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications and their symptoms must be greatly improved before returning.

BPS Test and Stay Protocol

Although students who are vaccinated are less likely to spread or contract the virus, it is important for us to create an inclusive environment for both vaccinated and unvaccinated students. We encourage vaccinated individuals to participate in the weekly routine COVID testing.

To participate in the program, you must sign this consent form on behalf of your student. There is no charge for participating. 

To learn more about the BPS COVID-19 testing program, please visit BPS Health & Safety Test Pages. If you have additional questions regarding the program, please contact Beth Rumley at BPSCOVIDTEST@belmont.k12.ma.us.

It is our hope that these measures will work together to keep our schools safe and your student in school.  Thanks again for your support during this challenging time. We look forward to welcoming your students back to the classroom.


Mary Elizabeth Rumley, M.Ed., BS, RN

Director of Nursing
Belmont Public Schools

Categories: COVID-19 Update, Health and Nursing Bulletin