CLEARFIELD — In an effort to help reduce the duration of student and staff quarantines after at-school, mask-to-mask exposure to COVID-19, the Davis School District has established a rapid testing site at the Freeport Center in Clearfield.
The site is open Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
"It provides an opportunity for kids and teachers to not be out for 14 days if in fact they are negative. Seven days is the earliest we can test and be confident in the test that they are not infected with COVID-19," said John Zurbuchen, assistant superintendent for the district.
"This benefits our families and our students," he said.
The launch of rapid testing comes as a number of Davis County schools announced soft closures due to rising numbers of coronavirus cases.
Layton, Woods Cross and Davis high schools and Shoreline Junior High in Layton will observe a soft closure starting Nov. 12. It is anticipated the schools will resume in-person classes on Monday, Nov. 30.
Northridge and Syracuse high schools remain in soft closure, with students attending school virtually until Nov. 19 when they return to in-person classes.
The district's rapid testing efforts are limited to students and staff exposed at school. The protocol does not apply if the quarantined individual or person who tested positive was not wearing a mask.
Students and staff members who qualify for the rapid test will receive instructions in their quarantine letter, including the date they qualify for the test.
School district nurses will administer the rapid antigen tests, which can produce results within 15 minutes.
The test requires a swab of a lower nostril, which is applied to a card roughly the size of a credit card, which can detect the presence of proteins found on or within the novel coronavirus.
A negative rapid test will allow a student or employee to return to the classroom before the regular 14-day quarantine. Positive tests will be verified with PCR tests, which take 48-72 hours for lab confirmation.
Davis County Health Department Director Brian Hatch said in a statement that no other school district in Utah has established a testing site.
District officials say testing is one component of their effort to slow the spread of the virus, which also includes wearing masks, frequent hand-washing or sanitizing and disinfecting common-touch surfaces.