Weekly Surveillance Testing cancelled for Nov. 4


A box of BinaxNOW tests that is available in the nurse.

Due to a shortage in rapid test supplies, Surveillance Testing at Decatur High School will temporarily be cancelled starting November 4th. Whether testing will resume on November 11 depends on if a sufficient amount of supplies is available again by then.


DHS students who opted into this weekly COVID-19 testing have been receiving tests weekly since October 21st, with no cancellations prior to Nov. 4. Every Thursday, a random portion of the signed-up students is selected, and they are sent to the Performing Arts Center to get tested at various time blocks throughout the day.


The CSD school board started the Surveillance Testing process to receive important data about contact tracing, as well as to help give the community increased security in their safety. The test in use is the BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen Test.


In order for a student to participate in testing once it returns if they aren’t signed up yet, they must have a parent or guardian opt them in.

 Students can request a test in the nurse if they are afraid they were exposed to COVID or are displaying symptoms.

Assistant Principal Wesley Hatfield spoke about the process students go through to get tested: “We have a schedule. Students are given passes… [they] find the test with their label and they get the test [of] swabbing their nose”. 


They then blow their nose, put their mask back on and sanitize their hands before returning to their class, he explained.


According to the Department of Health guidelines, whether vaccinated or not, if a student tests positive the first step will be to pull them out of class, isolate them, and give them a PCR test.


If a student tests positive on a rapid test but negative on a PCR test and is asymptomatic, then they don’t need to be isolated. If they test positive on a rapid but negative on a PCR and are symptomatic, they have to be isolated. If they test positive on both rapid and PCR, the student will quarantine as well. 


Younger students in the district, as well as CSD staff, are also able to participate in the same testing process.


Hatfield realizes students may be under stress due to being in large groups of vaccinated and un-vaccinated students. “You know, we have people with different family situations,” he said, “I think there’s a huge mental health benefit for students who have opted in and a huge mental health benefit to their families.”


Not only does the testing help give students and families a peace of mind- it will also provide information and warning if the school goes through a surge.  “It helps us as a school know in general, among this population of students being tested, what is our rate […] and if we should be thinking about much higher levels of mitigation measures because a high percentage of kids has tested positive,” Hatfield explained.