School shifts to rapid antigen testing due to backlog in labs

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Max Chasin, Staff Writer

During the week of January 7, approximately 150 students throughout the school tested positive in the school’s round of Vault COVID PCR tests, including people testing at home or from medical providers, Head of School Tom Kelly wrote in an email to parents on January 9. This week, however, the school saw a dramatic decline in Middle Division (MD) cases, Kelly wrote in an email to the community last night. Only five additional students tested positive this week, he wrote. 

While some students received the results of their tests within two days, others, like Spencer Rosenberg (12), had to wait over four days for their results, he said. “I took the test on Wednesday, and didn’t end up getting the results back until Sunday.” 

The results were delayed due to an overload in the labs following the increasingly high demand for testing, Nurse DeAnna Cooper said. This slow speed is not ideal, she said. “Because of the delayed results, people may be positive without knowing they’re positive, and they are not isolated during that time period.”

Hanah Cohen (11) took her test on Wednesday, January 5, but did not receive her results until Saturday, January 8, she said. “At first, I was not anxious about my test coming back positive, as I had taken a negative PCR test on Monday, but as time went on, and I didn’t receive my results, I became less reassured,” she said. Cohen was negative when she received her results, she said. 

Although he ultimately tested negative, Rosenberg was anxious to learn the results of his test during his waiting period, he said. “Two days after we took our vault test, my sister tested positive — at that point I wanted to see my test very badly to make sure that I was negative.” Students and faculty will no longer have to wait days to receive their test results; this week, the school made the shift to Rapid Antigen Testing in place of the Vault PCR tests, Kelly wrote in an email. The test is a nasal swab, after which students must wait 10-15 minutes to be notified of their results.