Without participation, SHIELD testing program could end


Henry Benton

SHIELD test sample submissions have dwindled significantly since they were mandatory in the spring.

Erich Raumann, Deputy Managing Editor

 Participation in the SHIELD testing program for COVID-19 has dwindled since the beginning of the year, putting the program at risk of shutting down. 

Many students stopped testing last spring when cases decreased and testing was no longer required. 

“I stopped getting tested sometime last year,” senior Fuad Odenik said. “It wasn’t mandatory anymore.”

With sometimes as few as three samples per day, the program at Lab wouldn’t be maintained by the University of Chicago, raising concerns about a lack of testing going into the winter months which typically have higher infection rates.  

“We have to have a certain number of samples in each week in order to keep the program going,” nurse Mary Toledo-Treviño said. “That’s why we’re trying to just make sure to put it out there to say, please make sure to get tested.”

After encouragement to take part in testing by Principal Paul Beekmeyer and Lab’s nurses, testing has increased to an average of 10 per day, which, if maintained, will keep the program going at Lab for the immediate future

“Families, teachers, staff and students have really decided to take part once more in being active in the program,” Ms. Toledo-Treviño said. “We are staying hopeful that the numbers will be better than they were in the past.”