Date: September 6, 2021
Thank you for your continued support as we kick off the 2021-2022 school year. At LNMUUSD/LNSU, 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 Vermont Department of Health.
For the 2021-22 school year, we are offering an extra layer of protection to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our schools — our COVID-19 testing program. This program is free for students and staff, and participation in the program is highly encouraged, regardless of vaccination status. Although students who are vaccinated are less likely to spread or contract the virus, unvaccinated individuals are still at risk of exposure, and it is important for us to create an inclusive environment for both vaccinated and unvaccinated students.
Vermont schools will be conducting weekly testing by way of a quick, non-invasive nasal swab, collected under the supervision of a school nurse, or other trained staff. Unlike many COVID-19 tests of the past, these are easy for students 5 years and older to perform themselves under supervision.
Through weekly testing, our schools will be better equipped to:
● Prevent the spread of the virus, especially among those individuals who are asymptomatic.
● Make evidence-based decisions. By deploying a school testing program, LNMUUSD/LNSU will be able to make well-informed decisions with regard to relaxing other prevention measures, such as masking.
● Prepare our community for future curveballs in the pandemic. In preparation for the possibility of new, more virulent strains, having a comprehensive testing program in place in schools will help inform our community of new strains and viral patterns.
Students may only participate in the program with permission from a parent or guardian. To participate in the program, you must sign this consent form on behalf of your student. There is no charge for participating. Any student aged 5 years or older is eligible to participate.
In advance of signing the consent form, it is important to LNMUUSD/LNSU that you are fully informed regarding the process and that we answer any questions you might have. To learn more about our COVID-19 testing program, please visit the Agency of Education’s Covid-19 Surveillance Testing Program Overview.
With this testing program in place, we can 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.
Florence M. Kelley, RN, BSN
District Safety Coordinator
Dear Parents, Caregivers, and Guardians,
We are excited to be offering the “Test to Stay” (TTS) program at our schools. Our district is now able to offer a range of free COVID-19 testing tools for students and staff at all district schools.
These testing tools are intended to help identify COVID-19 cases quickly and early, and then to respond to positive cases, while keeping as many kids in school as possible. Our aim is to limit disruptions to in-person learning and activities, while continuing to do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19.
All testing is voluntary and will require consent.
Surveillance testing is a weekly testing program using on-site PCR nasal swab tests.
We are conducting weekly PCR testing at school for the following individuals:
• Vaccinated or unvaccinated individuals
• Age 5 and older
• Students and staff only
Response Antigen Testing (TTS)
Response testing includes both rapid antigen testing and PCR testing. These tools will be used in response to a positive case within the school community.
• An antigen test is usually very accurate and uses a nasal swab. The results of antigen tests usually take about 15 to 30 minutes. Only unvaccinated students, ages 5 and up, who are identified as close contacts will participate.
• Students will have an antigen test every day upon arrival at school.
• Parents/guardians will be required to drive their student to school and wait for 15 minutes for their student’s test result. Individuals who test negative may remain at school.
• Each school will provide parents specific directions for where to go on their campus for this testing.
• Students in TTS may only attend school and on-campus school-sponsored activities that do not involve students from another school campus. Otherwise, they are expected to quarantine, meaning they should not participate in other activities (i.e. go to the grocery store, spend time with friends and others, etc.) outside of the household.
• If you do not consent to participate in TTS, and your child is unvaccinated, they must quarantine for 14 days, or have a negative PCR test at day 7 or later in order to return to school and other activities.
In-School PCR Response Testing
We may administer in-school PCR response tests in the following situations:
• Testing students/staff with symptoms after they have tested negative using an antigen test or in the absence of an antigen test.
• Testing a large number of students or staff members in order for them to leave quarantine.
• Testing vaccinated close contacts of COVID-19 cases between days 3 and 5 after exposure.
• Testing in response to a large number of cases or outbreak in our school community.
Please note that sharing of information about your child will only be done for public health purposes and in accordance with applicable law and policies protecting student privacy and the security of your child’s data.
Universal Consent for Response Testing: Obtaining Consent for Testing
The AOE has created one universal consent web form for all forms of response testing (Test Types 1 to 3) (antigen, PCR and any potential new testing technologies).
Consent for Surveillance Testing will continue through the CIC website https://www.cic-health.com/vermont and must be given separately.
We are extremely grateful to our committed families and staff who continue to show great flexibility and resilience as we work together to contain the spread of this virus. If you have questions regarding the COVID-19 Testing Program, please reach out to Chris Bowles at email@example.com, (802) 851-1291.
Florence M. Kelley, RN, BSN
District COVID-19 Coordinator
CDC recommends everyone 5 years and older get a COVID-19 vaccine to help protect against COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and free. Getting vaccinated prevents severe illness, hospitalizations, and death. Visit vaccines.gov to find vaccination providers near you.