K-12 Schools COVID-19 Testing Program
Our goal at LSU Health Shreveport is to partner with each of you in order to offer a mitigation strategy through COVID-19 testing that will help to ensure you have a Safe and Healthy School Year.
On June 23, 2021 the Department of Education (DOE) presented their Ready to Achieve! Operational Guidelines for the 2021-2022 school year. Within the context of the presentation, the optional COVID-19 Testing Program was introduced, describing the three options available:
- Do it yourself, coordinating your own testing program
- Turn Key option, partnering with a vendor to coordinate the program. LSU Health Shreveport (LSUHS) was awarded the contract for COVID-19 testing in LDH Regions 5 - 8. If you choose Option 2, then LSUHS will be your vendor.
- Do nothing at this time. Contact LDH if you need help with an outbreak.
Created in partnership with LDOE and LDH, financed by the CDC, LDH is offering schools COVID-19 testing options supported with funding, resources, educational materials, testing teams and the LDH K-12 Team for the 2021 - 2022 school year.
Testing can help reduce community spread and keep schools open. According to the CDC, at least 50% of infections are likely contracted from someone that is asymptomatic (showing no symptoms) or pre-symptomatic (not currently showing symptoms but may develop them in the future). A routine screening testing program, which regularly tests people without symptoms or known exposures, is a crucial tool to reduce “silent” spread of the virus and can protect students, teachers, and staff.
Testing in schools can help ensure equitable access. Some families may be unable or unwilling to seek regular testing if it is not offered on school grounds.
Testing increases confidence in schools’ reopening plans. Students, parents/guardians, and staff may be anxious about returning to in-person learning without knowing whether they may be exposed to infection by others in the school community. Strong testing programs with regular and transparent data sharing can help calm concerns about school safety.
LSUHS will have a hub/office in each region: Lake Charles-5; Alexandria-6; Shreveport-7 (also the administrative hub); and Monroe-8.
- Each Hub will have a Lead Nurse to coordinate the teams going to the schools.
- Each Team will consist of 2 Nurses and 2 Techs, who will travel from school to school.
- A Courier will be provided for each region to transport test samples to the lab in Shreveport. Samples are tested individually and results are reported the next business day by midnight.
- Testing will be done via nose swab and individuals will be taught to self-swab under LSUHS testing team supervision.
- LSUHS will partner with school administration to help ensure testing is as seamless and efficient as possible, taking into consideration your ideas and suggestions.
- If a student tests positive, LSUHS will help coordinate testing for family members and close contacts.
- LSUHS provides all the materials needed for testing: PPE (masks & gloves for testing team), test kits (swabs, test tubes, etc.), and tablet computers for documentation.
Who is Eligible to Participate?
- All school districts
- All K-12 public, charter, private schools
- All teachers, staff, students
- Athletic teams & school events
One may opt in or opt out at any time with a 30 day lead time for the scheduling change.
Registration is completed on the COVIDSafe online platform. Paper based registration is available as needed.
- Testing can take place in a designated location with the testers going to the testing team or the testing team can go from class to class with a mobile testing station.
- Testing will ideally take place Monday-Thursday, beginning before school and ending before noon.
- Test tubes are pre-labeled for more seamless and timely completion.
- Testing team will deliver test samples to a courier to transport samples daily to the LSUHS lab.
- Test results are available by midnight of the next day, reported through COVIDSafe online platform.
- If a test is positive, parent(s) and the regional Office of Public Health will be notified to conduct contact tracing so necessary individuals can quarantine.
Testing is easy!
Students and staff will be taught to self-swab their nose, with LSUHS supervision, to collect test sample.
Nose swabbing steps:
Remove swab from container
Insert swab only ¾ of an inch into nostril, no more invasive than picking your nose
Rotate at least 3 times, or for 15 seconds, against inside of nostril
Repeat on other nostril
Takes less than 30 seconds!
Questions About Participant Incentives?
For more information regarding incentive payments for those participating in the K-12 Safer, Smarter Schools Testing Program visit https://ldh.la.gov/page/4318.
- The Louisiana Department of Health will administer and provide reloadable virtual payments or physical cards to participants. Students and school staff receive $25 for the first test and $10 for each additional test. For 2022-23, the incentive will be paid in one lump sum at the end of the semester if participant has had a minimum of 10 tests.
- As a part of the initial consent form sent out through the COVIDSafe Platform to parents, there will be a separate consent to participate in the incentive program.
For Staff and Teachers:
- Upon registration, there will be a consent form to participate in the incentive program.
So that we can best support you through this decision-making process, please complete a survey providing feedback on your school's needs.