Rundlett to conduct pooled testing after COVID-19 outbreak

Monitor staff
Published: 10/12/2021 4:17:27 PM

Concord School District is moving forward with pool testing for COVID-19 at Rundlett Middle School this week in an attempt to control an outbreak that was discovered after the long holiday weekend.

Superintendent Kathleen Murphy notified families Tuesday that two “clusters,” including three or more positive individuals in one group, were discovered at Rundlett Middle School last week, one in grade six and one in grade seven. After the long weekend during which Concord School District observed Indigenous Peoples Day, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services determined that the clusters have created an outbreak.

“All the procedures for [contact] tracing and family follow-up have been observed, and quarantines were imposed by our nurses and administrators,” Murphy wrote. “In order to respond to these positive cases and continue to do our best to keep students and staff well, the district is moving forward with ‘pool testing’ to detect other positive cases.”

Pool testing – also referred to as pooling – is when samples from 10-15 students are combined into a common “pool” and then one laboratory test is used to detect COVID-19.  Any pooled tests that return positive results will require each student in the sample group to undergo individual rapid tests to determine who is positive. The objective of pooling is to get swift, widespread results that can help a school stop or mitigate outbreaks. Rundlett students require parental permission forms in order to be tested for COVID-19.

“I know these are trying times for families,” Murphy wrote. “We are following all the recommendations and guidance available to us. Our continuing goal is to keep schools open, and teaching and learning to occur daily.”

Eileen O

Eileen O'Grady is a Report for America corps member covering education for the Concord Monitor since spring 2020. O’Grady is the former managing editor of Scope magazine at Northeastern University in Boston, where she reported on social justice issues, community activism, local politics and the COVID-19 pandemic. She is a native Vermonter and worked as a reporter covering local politics for the Shelburne News and the Citizen. Her work has also appeared in The Boston Globe, U.S. News & World Report, The Bay State Banner, and VTDigger. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northeastern University and a bachelor’s degree in politics and French from Mount Holyoke College, where she served as news editor for the Mount Holyoke News from 2017-2018.

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