Recently, Concord Academy announced the decision to restart COVID-19 testing protocols on campus. This announcement came several weeks after the spread of common colds on campus. The administration wants to keep the community safe. Because of this, they made protocols to ensure the school’s health and mitigate the spread of this infectious virus.
The recent increase in common colds on campus was not the only factor that prompted the administration to make this decision. While the rate of COVID infection in Massachusetts has been steadily decreasing since August, the upcoming winter months mean more time spent inside and, therefore, more risk to the community.
This testing is different from the on-campus testing conducted during the spring semester of last year. Then, the whole community was tested each week, with each person assigned a slot during the week, Monday through Friday. This year, twenty-five percent of the community is getting tested each Friday, with the goal of having the entire campus tested by Thanksgiving break. Twelfth graders and a quarter of the faculty and staff were tested on Friday, October 23. Eleventh graders and another twenty-five percent of faculty and staff were tested on Friday, October 29. Ninth grade students and more faculty and staff were tested on November 5. and Tenth graders and the remaining faculty and staff were tested on November 12.
CA partnered with OccuMed New England and the Broad Institute to conduct the testing. OccuMed New England is a subdivision of the company United Alliance Services, and they have been helping other institutions with testing protocols throughout the ongoing pandemic. Founded in 2004, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard is a medical research organization that has worked to improve testing throughout the pandemic, with CA using their pooled testing model in order to test large amounts of people from the same place at once.
This testing is important because it allows the administration to keep an eye on the potential spread of COVID-19 through the community, allowing us to continue to be together as a fully in-person school. Thanks to the resumption of COVID-19 testing we can continue to live and learn together as one healthy whole community!