North Cross School sees success with COVID-19 testing regimen

Published: Mar. 4, 2021 at 6:14 PM EST
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ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - North Cross School in Roanoke County has conducted consistent COVID-19 testing and has shown how it can reduce the spread of the virus. It has a regimen in place for testing that it has followed since before the school year started, helping them to safely hold in-person class five days a week.

Roughly every two weeks, North Cross has been testing its entire student population plus faculty and staff - around 600 people - for COVID-19. Head of School Christian Proctor said the testing has gone smoothly throughout the year.

“What it’s done is it’s allowed us to determine whether or not we’ve had any spread on school property, and to date, we’ve not had a single instance of spread in the classroom,” Proctor said.

At first, volunteers swabbed students in the athletic center, but now they go into each of the lower, middle and upper schools to test the students, faculty and staff.

As for testing during the virtual learning weeks that come after school breaks, ”We just do it curbside, and we divide the doors up by alphabet and our swabbers run down the stairs and test the people in their cars,” said Pam Moskal, COVID-19 testing coordinator for North Cross School.

The tests are sent to a lab in Nashville and results often come in around 24 hours later.

“I think the fact that we tested gave us the confidence to open up five days a week,” Proctor said.

This strict testing regimen couldn’t take place without everyone who has volunteered their time to help.

“As the year went on, more and more parents reached out to me to offer their services of volunteering and it takes us, to test the entire school, 600 people, it takes us four hours with 20 volunteers,” Moskal explained.

Proctor said while the testing has helped to prevent a spread of the virus, it really all falls back on the school’s mitigation strategies.

“The masking and separating everybody out six feet have, I think, been the principle things, but we’ve actually taken a lot of effort to work on the quality of the air, indoor air,” he said.

And Proctor said the school community can now feel even safer, since around 90% of the faculty and staff has been vaccinated at least once.

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