26 Feb In This Different Time – A Different Test
There are so many “different” things happening this year for Hope Partnership middle school students. They are having temperatures taken when arriving at school and fifth and sixth graders are using a different entrance than seventh and eighth graders. Everyone is wearing a mask all the time, except when eating. Everyone at Hope is being asked to stay within their designated pods, and all students and staff have experienced being able to come to school virtually on what used to be a snow day – an unanticipated minor disappointment connected to COVID-19.
One innovation during the pandemic that Hope has taken advantage of is weekly pooled testing. Students and staff members self-test by using nasal swabs which are collected in vials, sorted according to pods, and mailed to a lab on a weekly basis. Thus far, all tests have been negative for both students and staff members. The presence of a positive test would trigger a series of actions, including quarantining, contact tracing, and making sure that members of the identified pod have the opportunity to be tested for COVID-19.
Most of you who are reading this newsletter may not be aware that “biology is the most advanced manufacturing technology on the planet” and Concentric by Ginkgo Bioworks, the company providing Hope’s testing, is breaking new ground in its work with viruses. Besides participating in this innovative approach to preventing virus spread, our students are being introduced to new scientific careers and discovering ever greater connections between life and learning!