The State of Maine is ending its pooled testing program in schools after the May 9 testing. This will be the final day we will offer this service to staff and students. In its place, we will be providing at-home rapid test kits to each family and staff member who indicates a desire for us to do so.
The move away from pooled testing is in response to the changing nature of the COVID-19 virus. Whereas individuals with previous variants of the disease took longer to develop symptoms, people are now becoming ill within 1-2 days of contracting the virus. This lowers significantly the effectiveness of pooled testing, as it can take 2-4 days for us to receive results (by which time the positive individual is likely already ill and testing positive). By making use of the individual rapid tests, symptomatic individuals can test immediately to determine if they have COVID-19.
It is our intent to allow families and staff to opt-in to this program at each school. Your child’s principal will be communicating how that will be operationalized at each school, and we hope to distribute the test kits by the end of next week (once pooled testing has ceased).