COVID-19 testing for safe school reopening is a big topic these days. Parents, teachers, and students alike are all looking forward to returning to school. But will the pandemic crisis put students at a higher risk?
To date, there are over thirty million COVID-19 cases all over the world and almost a million deaths. Experts have determined that the elderly are more susceptible to the coronavirus disease. The same goes for those with underlying health conditions or comorbidities.
Students, on the other hand, are less likely to contract it. Experts say that this is because children and teenagers have a more robust immune system than adults. The relatively low number of coronavirus cases among young kids reported worldwide proves this.
But with school districts starting classes or planning to reopen, children are still very much at risk now more than ever. Coronavirus testing and contact tracing are two key factors to protect students and staff as well as public health.
Why COVID-19 Testing for Safe School Reopening is Essential
With the coronavirus pandemic in full blast, students and sometimes teachers in third-world countries are struggling to make ends meet.
Families have lost their jobs. Breadwinners and primary caregivers are struggling to make ends meet. Parents, especially those with many mouths to feed, are at a loss. They don’t know how they can survive without schools reopening. Single parent households seem to be most affected.
There are strict but necessary health protocols in almost all countries. These are being implemented in businesses and establishments, regardless of size and industry. This is understandable.
Governments have implemented changes now that school season is upon us. Some have cancelled opening schools. Others have adjusted the school year calendar. There are those who turn to online classes or hybrid learning.
But with the cancellation of person to person learning, it is particularly devastating for children living in marginalized communities, especially as they get their meal while at school. That is why COVID-19 testing for safe school reopening is essential.
First, students must have access to continuous academic learning. Second, they need professionals who will attend to their emotional and mental needs that are not properly addressed at home. Third, kids and teenagers need socialization.
But why is COVID-19 testing for safe school reopening essential?
Here’s the truth. Schoolchildren rely on canteens or cafeterias for food. School meals served at lunchtime on a daily basis is a right for underprivileged students. For most of them, this even serves as their breakfast. Or, it’s the only decent meal they can have all day long.
Closing down schools because of the coronavirus pandemic means they won’t have access to it. Without it, they might not be able to get the necessary nutrients they need.
Diminished family income or total loss of it will be an additional burden for parents and primary caregivers. Moreover, school closure would lead to a more serious implication.
The current pandemic can be a gateway for the deterioration of the quality of life of students. This is not just because of poverty or lack of finances at home. Child labor is one worrying consequence. Worse, they may be subjected to physical or sexual violence at home.
The COVID-19 crisis can exacerbate existing child abuse issues. It’s not just about the transition from traditional learning or on-site education to remote schooling.
It isn’t just about getting behind in academic learning or missing educational milestones. It is even more serious than just not getting high test results.
Because school-age children and adolescents will be forced to stay at home, there is always fear and anxiety. Students live in fear of abuse or violence.
Those living in slums or marginalized areas are now more vulnerable to child exploitation. Even if a teacher or staff is aware of the situation, they won’t have any control over it.
More than ever, COVID-19 testing for safe school reopening should be a priority. Governments shouldn’t just try to flatten the curve or wait for a vaccine to happen. Public officials and local health departments must find a way to make reopening schools as safe as possible.
Federal and state authorities must work hand in hand with school districts and academic institutions. There must be a way to realistically enforce physical distancing to prevent high community transmission.
COVID-19 Testing for Safe School Reopening: Three Conditions
COVID-19 testing for safe school reopening must be taken seriously. There is no denial that both teachers and students want to be back in their respective classrooms as soon as possible.
However, the onset of the pandemic has forcibly rendered everyone to stay home. Remote learning or distant education is not an adequate substitute for on-site schooling. It cannot replicate the full experience of having a person to person instruction.
However, it is still not a good justification for schools to just reopen without a plan for coronavirus testing and contact tracing which ought to be non-negotiable.
Imagine the number of kids going in and out of classrooms, hallways, and playgrounds. Students are riding on the same school bus. They interact during after school hour activities. They talk to teachers and other parents going to school and coming back home.
Wherever students are, it could be the perfect breeding ground for the coronavirus outbreak. COVID-19 testing for safe school reopening hinges on three conditions.
The first condition is that there should be regular testing for students, teachers, staff, and everyone within the school system. Experts believe that this will help in minimizing infection rates.
The second condition is that strict health safeguards must be implemented within the school grounds. Everyone must practice social distancing as well as basic hygiene and sanitation. Face masks, face coverings, and face shields must be worn at all times.
The third condition is that school districts must be given necessary budget and resources to protect all students, teachers, and staff. COVID-19 testing for safe school reopening won’t happen without the money to pay for it all.
COVID-19 Testing for Safe School Reopening: Two Types
COVID-19 testing for safe school reopening is of two types. These tests can determine if you have or have had the Coronavirus.
The first one is a diagnostic test. It can tell if you are infected with the virus. This is regardless if you have the common symptoms or none.
The second one is referred to as an antibody test. It cannot determine if you are currently sick with the Coronavirus. Rather, it tells you if you have been previously exposed to it. It also proves that your body has fought off the infection.
The initial step is to have your nose or throat swabbed by a doctor or a medical professional. They will then send your swab samples to the laboratory for further analysis and diagnosis.
There, the sample will be developed until they can detect any traces of the Coronavirus. This is done through a process called Polymerase Chain Reaction or PCR. It is used to intensify or copy small portions of DNA.
However, COVID-19 testing for safe school reopening has its own caveats as well. A person that is initially “negative” that got tested today may get infected tomorrow. Another drawback is with the swabbing process itself. Pharmacy staff don’t receive training at school. Medical Assistants and Clinical Staff do.
A good sample also depends on the intensity of the virus. It also depends on whether or not the swab picked up an appropriate amount of it.
During an antibody test, it may not tell you if you currently have the virus. However, it can determine if you have been infected by it at some point.
Instead of looking for the virus, they determine the presence of antibodies. These are blood proteins released by the body after fighting off an infection.
Instead of having your nose or throat swabbed, medical workers will take a sample of blood from you. These are usually done through a venipuncture rather than a finger prick test.
COVID-19 Testing Near You
COVID-19 testing for safe school reopening is a must. If you want to make sure you and your child can test negative from the COVID-19 disease, this is where Statcare can help you.
Statcare is listed on New York City’s website as a leading testing facility. It has performed over 8,800 COVID-19 Nasal Swab Test to diagnose acute COVID-19 disease. Statcare also does COVID-19 Antibody Blood Test and the Rapid In-Office diagnostic test. The results can be out in 10-15 minutes!
Statcare’s mobile staff have been performing on-site testing for large NYC businesses & nursing homes. It’s Mobile Team is on schedule for providing walk-through or drive-through COVID-19 testing services with pop-up clinics.
All test results are discussed by online doctors over a Televisit. Through Statcare’s virtual doctor service, you can discuss your medical concerns from your home or office within the hour! If you need online prescriptions, these can be sent to a pharmacy near you.
Statcare urgent care services are readily available and easily accessible in eight NYC area locations (Hicksville, Long Island; Astoria, Jamaica, Jackson Heights in Queens; Brooklyn, NYC; the Bronx at Bartow Avenue in Co-op City; and the Bronx at E. 174th Street).
Book an appointment today so you can get more information about COVID-19 testing for safe school reopening.