Rye Country Day employees, students, and families are working in partnership to support the health and well-being of the school community. In addition to extensive health and safety protocols and risk mitigation policies outlined in the School’s Reopening Plan such as daily health screenings, mask wearing, social distancing, and vigilant hand hygiene, RCDS instituted weekly pool testing at the start of the 2020-21 school year. Pooling—also referred to as pool testing or batch testing—means combining saliva samples collected from up to 24 people and conducting one laboratory test on the combined pool of samples to detect SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Pooling allows laboratories to test more samples with fewer testing materials. In regions with low incidence of COVID-19 infections, pool testing is a resource-effective, evidenced-based way to rapidly assess samples, and it serves as an adjunct to the School’s other important risk mitigation strategies. The intent of weekly testing is to identify asymptomatic or early carriers and isolate cases before a potential outbreak occurs, enabling the School to remain open as long as possible. Read more about pool testing, on the CDC’s website.
At RCDS, implementing pool testing has been an all-hands-on-deck community effort reflecting the School’s motto Not for Self, But for Service. Employees from across the School have volunteered to sort, distribute, and track testing kits. They also assist with saliva specimen drop-offs two days a week, alongside nurses and lab affiliates. Upper School student-athletes volunteer to assemble the testing kits, which includes placing specimen vials, straws, and wipes and in a small bag, which are then ready for pick-up.
Head of School Scott Nelson has been heartened by the RCDS community’s understanding that health and safety are a shared responsibility, and the pool testing program is a strong example of this awareness. He comments, “Rye Country Day’s pool testing program is an important and inspiring community effort. It provides regular surveillance of our 1,200 students and employees, enabling the School to identify potential asymptomatic cases, prevent extensive exposure, and ultimately avoid school closures. In addition, the program has shown how committed each and every member of the RCDS community is to collective safety and well-being. This has been a real partnership and a meaningful demonstration of our motto Not for Self, but for Service.”