Pool Testing

Chloe Sapienza, Photographer

As of April 10, 2021 the district of Georgetown has stopped pool testing. Georgetown started pool testing to determine if mask wearing and sanitizing was working and also to pick up any people who were asymptomatic. The state donated free testing products for the district to help with data and tracking down on the spread. GMHS was hoping for 70% of the community to participate, but only 20% of the school signed up. However, Penn Brook had a better turn out with more people signing up. 


The community was not so sure about pool testing and how it was all going to turn out and was a little nervous about it. This is because this year has been stressful so far and this was just another mission trying to be accomplished. 


“It was a lot of preparation each week.  As the weeks went on it ran smoother and smoother but the preparation and execution each week was still the same. It involved checking consents, making the pools, labeling the tubes for the samples, performing the tests, logging the data, processing samples for transport and then follow up if necessary when a pool was positive,” said Nurse Heather.  


At the high school, testing was set up by which chort you were in, and your lunch determined when you got tested. There were about five students or staff in each pool.  Down at the Penn Brook, they had the nurse go to each class with a cart and test whoever signed up for the program, which was very convenient for the students and staff. 


The majority of the students didn’t mind getting tested, but there were some students that had their parents sign them up and didn’t want to participate, which is another reason why the testing numbers were so low. 


Some students in the high school didn’t like that the testing had to be done before lunch because they don’t want to miss lunch or not get a seat because they had to get tested. There were also students that didn’t mind it at all and it was easy. 


“I think the pool testing was stupid because if the pool testing came back positive, then everyone just would have to get re-tested. So why not just do rapid testing and more people would be inclined to do it. Because if we had rapid testing we could make it mandatory for sports so then we could keep more sports teams playing,” said Rylie Lasquade. 


The program lasted for 7 weeks and was stopped due to the lack of participation. The program went well, and out of the 7 weeks only one pool out of the whole district had one case. 


“We were fortunate in that we only had one positive pool during our 7 weeks within the district.  This was great in that we could see that our mitigation strategies within the district were working. The medical advisory committee met to discuss whether to continue on with pool testing,” said Nurse Heather. 


When the medical advisory committee met they decided after 7 weeks of testing that they were going to stop because there just wasn’t enough participation. Another reason was because of all the schools going back full time they would have to set up another plan for testing. But it will still always be an option to bring back testing if numbers start to increase again.