Lateral flow testing begins ahead of return to campus

With+campus+operations+resuming+March+8%2C+this+week+the+school+started+its+initiative+to+identify+asymptomatic+cases+via+lateral+flow+testing.

Photo used with permission from governortomwolf/WikimediaCommons

With campus operations resuming March 8, this week the school started its initiative to identify asymptomatic cases via lateral flow testing.

Sal Cerrell and Cameron Spurr

ASL’s COVID-19 testing program commenced this week in preparation for campus operations restarting March 8, per Head of School Robin Appleby. Employees have had access to at-home testing devices since March 1, with High School students scheduled to begin testing March 4 in person.

The U.K. Government plans to make rapid lateral flow testing available to educational institutions across the country as part of its school reopening plan. According to GOV.UK, these self-administered tests are designed to expose asymptomatic cases, which constitute roughly one third of all cases.

Although receiving a test is optional, Appleby said it is strongly encouraged. 

According to Appleby, on-site testing is appointment-based, taking place in the Farmer Family Gym. Roughly 30 minutes following their test, students will be notified of their results. More detailed information about ASL’s testing center operation is available here. (Note: you will need an ASL login to access the web page.)

Danielle Hajjar (’23) said she scheduled a testing appointment for March 4. She said despite being hesitant about physically administering the test herself, she overall feels safer returning to campus knowing a majority of the population will have been tested. 

Hajjar cites undetected, asymptomatic cases as a primary contributor to the spread of COVID-19, hence why she said she believes the testing program will prove efficient.

One potential complication to the testing program arises from false results, something Hajjar said is in the back of her mind.

“There is always that possibility that a test might be wrong, but the possibility is very slim,” she said.

After the first round of testing is complete, beginning March 15 students will conduct the same tests biweekly at home “for the foreseeable future,” according to Appleby.

Gabrielle Meidar contributed to reporting.