Schools’s New Form of COVID Testing Succeeds Beyond Expectations


Kayla Chaney, Author

         With flu season on its way, Westminster faculty and staff, students, and families are more susceptible to the COVID-19 virus, so the school has found a more efficient and cost-effective way to test teachers and on-campus students to ensure the continuation of school. Westminster has invested in pool testing, which is a testing method where the students and faculty are put in groups and they insert their saliva into test tubes. The saliva of each group is then mixed together and tested. This method is easier because less solution is used in group testing, as opposed to testing everyone one-by-one. If a pool test group comes back positive, each member of that group will be tested individually to determine who has the virus. With this change, students are tested more frequently, on a Monday or Tuesday during a PE class.

         On the other hand, this testing method is said to be less accurate than the nose swab test.  Also, eating and drinking within thirty minutes of the test dilutes the results, so if a student happens to consume anything the outcome is less accurate. The Middle School nurse, Ashley McCauley, says “No test will ever have 100% accuracy, but this test is one of the better ones out there because of its sensitivity to detecting a virus, so the chances for false negatives are low.” Luckily, the last few rounds of testing came back all negative for the Middle School with the exception of a few cases that did not spread. Westminster’s efforts and protocols are helping everyone stay at school and they prove to be effective.