MILLBURN, NJ — In a press release sent out Monday afternoon, the Millburn School District announced that as part of ongoing efforts to provide for the health and safety of the school community, they are currently offering fully-funded (no out-of-pocket costs), optional, asymptomatic COVID-19-PCR DNA-based testing for staff, students and school district families.
The test, a nasal-swab variety, will be administered on-site in two of the Millburn school buildings weekly, Starting Tuesday, Feb. 23. The district will be hosting weekly testing from that Tuesday onwards at both Millburn High School and Hartshorn school for all schools staff, students and their families.
According to the release, frequent testing is a key portion of the district's plan for curtailing asymptomatic transmission and potential outbreaks before they occur, which should help to keep schools in the district open more frequently.
Speaking about the testing procedure at the BOE Meeting on Feb. 8, Millburn Superintendent Dr. Christine Burton outlined the plan from the district, saying;
“We researched a variety of testing options, and are confident that offering surveillance testing, in addition to the COVID safety precautions in place in our schools, through BacktoWork Solutions will provide another level of protection. I encourage all staff and school families to take advantage of this opportunity as often as you can to give you the peace of mind of knowing that you are protecting your family and community. I was tested, and it was quick, simple and painless…now you can do it too.”
Testing for staff in the district began on Wednesday, Feb. 10, with nearly 100 staff members from around the school district sitting down for the 10-second nasal swab test. A second testing day was held for school district staff, students and families on Tuesday, Feb. 16, with more than 150 people getting swabbed during vacation week. Test results from the sessions are received within 24 to 72 hours.
Information was recently sent to all staff and school families with instructions on registering and making appointments for testing.
Testing in the district is run by BacktoWork Solutions (BTWS). BTWS is CLIA certified company which is federally regulated and ensures patient-specific reporting. The company facilitates the reregistration portal, Tele-Med evaluations, nasal swab collections by medical clinicians on testing days, lab analysis, and delivery of test results.
The testing process consists of several simple steps:
- Staff or parents register and provide their consent for testing through a secure online portal.
- They then receive an email to schedule a telemedicine appointment with a doctor to confirm eligibility for testing.
- Participate in a 3-5 minute telemedicine appointment with a physician.
- Prescriptions for the nasal swab test are emailed to the patient with instructions for scheduling the testing appointment time.
- A printed paper copy of the prescription must be brought to the testing site to get a test, as well as test results.
- Testing is not available for anyone who is currently symptomatic or under isolation for having tested positive.
There are no out-of-pocket costs. The tele-visits and nasal swab tests are paid through a combination of each individual’s health insurance plan, the government, and/or the school district. Those without health insurance may proceed with the process and still be covered through a federal COVID testing and care program.
“COVID testing is another layer of protection from the spread of the virus for both the people in school (students, faculty and staff) and for their respective families and communities,” Dr. Burton added.