Weekly COVID-19 testing to occur


Andrew Burke-Stevenson

Senior Yannik Leuz and sophomore Marlena Leuz fill up sample tubes in Lower Kovler on Jan. 4 during baseline COVID-19 testing.

Amon Gray, Arts Co-Editor

Through March 4, students and employees will take a surveillance COVID-19 test every Friday in Gordon Parks Assembly Hall between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

During the week of Jan. 3, baseline COVID-19 testing was conducted to ensure that in-person schooling could resume safely. The regular Friday surveillance testing will be conducted to detect any asymptomatic cases at school. 

The tests, known as SHIELD tests developed by the University of Illinois, involve collecting a saliva sample rather than using a nasal swab because it is less invasive, and it is recommended that nasal swabs be administered by a medical professional. With the SHIELD tests, those who are not medical professionals can be trained to help with testing.

In the coming weeks, students and employees can go to Gordon Parks Assembly Hall during lunch, free periods or before and after school to test. However, students cannot skip classes to take the tests. A person must avoid eating or drinking anything one hour before testing.

Julia Nutley, nurse at the primary school, helped administer the tests the week of Jan. 3.

“Honestly, I was worried about it and it went so smoothly. We’re very lucky that we’re a part of the university and we have all their resources,” Ms. Nutley said. “It’s been a really huge effort among the nurses, family life programs and our operations team to get this done and it was done really well.”

Ms. Nutley’s advice for students is to stay well hydrated, especially on the testing days, to make it easier to produce the saliva sample.