Naperville 203’s COVID-19 weekly saliva surveillance program is an important mitigation factor in our Return to Learn plan. In partnership with SafeGuard Surveillance, LLC, Naperville 203 has been offering weekly screening tests for COVID-19 to all staff and secondary-level students. The goal of the program is early identification of potential COVID cases so that we can reduce transmission of the virus and quarantines due to close contacts, especially from asymptomatic individuals. This voluntary program provides an additional mitigation strategy to complement the other practices in place including wearing masks, social distancing, and symptom monitoring.
The saliva-based test has been administered once a week and screens for high viral loads of the COVID-19 virus. The program uses an internationally recognized RT-Lamp process adapted by SafeGuard Surveillance which has correctly identified COVID-19 cases that were later confirmed by lab testing. The test does not make a diagnosis but identifies individuals who need to seek a PCR COVID-19 test. The screening is accurate, with 99.9% of clinical findings resulting in a positive COVID-19 test.
Naperville 203 is aware of the recent New York Times article about the surveillance program. The article omits several important points about the program, including how the program has been authorized to operate under guidance from the federal Department of Health and Human Services and the fact that it has successfully identified hundreds of cases of COVID-19. We remain committed to doing all we can to safely continue and increase in-person opportunities for our students, and our saliva surveillance program remains an important part of our considerations. We are grateful to our parents and staff members for their strong participation in this program and for the work they are doing to maintain a safe educational environment.