Dear Peninsula School District Families,
Peninsula School District’s Test to Stay program is a voluntary, parent consent COVID-19 testing program in our schools. This program is designed for students who are unvaccinated and identified as a close contact of an individual at a school or school-related event who tests positive for COVID-19.
Previously, unvaccinated students who were designated as close contacts were required to quarantine at home for 14 days. The goal of the program is to allow unvaccinated students who are identified as close contacts at school or school-sponsored events to remain in school as long as they are symptom-free and test negative for COVID-19.
A close contact is defined by the Washington State Department of Health as an individual who has spent 15 or more minutes over a 24-hour period within 6 feet of the confirmed case, or within 3 feet in a K-12 indoor classroom setting. Each confirmed case in PSD is contact traced and families are notified if their student is determined to be a close contact.
Peninsula School District was granted approval to implement the Test to Stay program by the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and testing will begin in our schools starting Monday, Oct. 4.
This testing program, combined with disease prevention strategies, can help our schools detect new cases to prevent outbreaks, reduce the risk of further transmission, and protect students, teachers, and other staff from COVID-19.
Please see this document for more details. If you have any questions, please contact your child’s school. Thank you.
Please see some frequently asked questions below:
Who is eligible to participate?
Students ages 4 and up who are unvaccinated and designated as close contacts of an individual at school or school-related events who tests positive for COVID-19 are eligible.
This program is only for students who were exposed to COVID-19 at school or school-related events, not from outside activities such as daycares or private athletic clubs.
Is testing mandatory?
No. The program is voluntary and parent consent is required.
Unvaccinated students who don’t participate in Test to Stay and are identified as close contacts will be required to quarantine at home for 14 days from the date of exposure.
What is the process for participating?
Parent consent is required. The testing process will be expedited if a parent pre-registers their child via this link. Some important notes:
The registration website says you are ‘booking an appointment.’ This is not an actual appointment - it’s the step of having your child’s test performed at school should they be identified as a close contact or develop symptoms of COVID-19 while at school.
You will be asked for insurance information; however, you will not be billed. If you don’t have insurance, you may still participate.
Although pre-registration is preferred, a family may still participate even if pre-registration has not taken place. You must register each student in your household individually.
What kind of test is being used?
The Test to Stay program in the Peninsula School District uses a Curative PCR test. This is a self-administered, minimally invasive, nasal swab test and is observed by a trained adult.
When will I receive the test results?
Parents will be notified of test results by Curative within 2-3 days.
What are the testing procedures?
For students who have been identified as a close contact at school, parents will be contacted and asked if they want to participate in the Test to Stay program, allowing their child to remain at school as long as they are symptom free. Additionally, the student will also need to test again between day 5-7 of exposure, and quarantine at home when they are not attending school.
If parent consent has been provided, a test will be given and the student may return to class immediately (while awaiting test result) if they are symptom-free. Test results will be provided to the parent and the school district by the testing company.
In some situations, students will be allowed to test the next day after being identified.
What is modified quarantine?
During modified quarantine, the student must quarantine at home except for attending school classes. Participation in non-classroom school activities, such as extracurricular and community activities, is not permitted, nor is attendance to group childcare or youth development programs. A modified quarantine is not an option for teachers, staff, or other adults.
When can my child return to class in the district’s Test to Stay program?
A student who is not experiencing symptoms may return to class after the test is administered. Modified quarantine can begin while waiting for test results.
Can my child participate in non-classroom school activities and extracurricular activities during modified quarantine?
During modified quarantine, students may only attend school and must avoid non-classroom school activities, such as extracurricular and community activities, group childcare, or youth development programs for the “modified quarantine” period of 7 days from exposure.
Students may resume extracurricular activities on day 8 if both of their tests during the modified quarantine are negative (the second test must occur after day 5 and recommended prior to or on day 7 after exposure). This is a requirement of the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department Test to Stay program.
What if my student is identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19 at school, is unvaccinated, and tests positive?
If the student tests positive, the student will be sent home for the identified isolation period, usually 10 days.
Can my child participate in the district’s Test to Stay program if they are exposed to COVID-19 outside of school?
No, the DOH does not allow students exposed outside of school to participate in the Test to Stay program. If your student is exposed to a known case when not at school or a school-related activity, please contact your healthcare provider.
What if my child is vaccinated?
Students who are vaccinated and remain symptom-free do not need to test, even if identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
What if my student is identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19 at school and chooses not to be tested at school?
Students can still participate in Test to Stay by testing with a healthcare professional. Documentation that a test was administered by a healthcare provider, or by a testing site, is required. Families will need to provide the school with a copy of the initial test results when received. The student will need to test again between day 5-7 of exposure, and quarantine at home when they are not attending school. Our agreement with TPCHD does not allow PSD to accept over-the-counter tests or those self-administered.
Please see your school’s COVID-19 Site Coordinator for more information.