Local school systems have different approaches to COVID testing | education
Tests that give quick results are not as accurate and give a false positive result about 50% of the time, Vergales said.
“All of the other multi-tier schools of attenuation are dramatically more important than the test because the test is [like finding] a needle in a haystack, ”he said. “But you are better off from a mindset standpoint just assuming every single child that comes through that door has COVID because you will be doubling down on containment strategies to reduce the likelihood of the spread.”
Testing programs are more effective and doable when officials try to create a COVID-free bubble, similar to the strategies used by Blue Ridge School, a private boarding school, for in-person tuition, Vergales said. However, a bubble is not possible for schools where students and staff leave school and return to the community every day.
“The only ones who have really been successful are those who are smaller and have spent a lot of money getting companies to help them with their own tests,” he said.
He added that random testing is a more effective tool when the prevalence of the disease in the community is around 3 to 5%.
“Think about that number; that’s a really high number, ”he said. “That means you expect every child you test in Albemarle County to be 5% positive. Even with what’s going on in the Blue Ridge Health District with our tariffs, you’re not even a fraction of it right now. “