Status Update: COVID Testing at Villa
I wanted to share a progress report regarding our ongoing efforts to provide access to student COVID testing and maintain a safe environment
for students and faculty to stay in school during the Omicron wave and beyond.
As I shared in The Weekly on January 14th, the local company that provides PCR testing was not able to take on additional schools earlier this month. The company was not able to process its current testing volume in a timely manner, which created delays in its communication with schools and/or families. After working through the details, I am happy to share that the local company is now able to take on additional schools, including Villa.
As a result, and in pursuit of increased access to COVID testing and providing safe, in-person learning as consistently as possible at Villa, we have determined:
Due to the longer turnaround times for test results and the impact on in-person learning, Villa
will not start pooled surveillance screening PCR testing this winter. The
protocols for pooled, screening PCR tests—which keep groups of students at home until a second, individual PCR test determines which person
is positive for COVID—are not feasible at Villa at this time. We will provide updates should circumstances change.
We have signed up with the local PCR testing company (Atlas Genomics) to provide
individual, diagnostic PCR tests for symptomatic students and/or employees. Individual
PCR testing through Atlas will not begin until our supplies arrive. This type of testing complements our ability to provide rapid antigen
testing for symptomatic or close contact students and/or employees.
- Several weeks ago, we received a sufficient number of rapid antigen tests for diagnostic testing. Having these tests on hand has already been helpful to families and faculty/staff. Thankfully, the current delays of state-provided antigen tests for schools will not impact Villa.
Continued Campus Safety
Though COVID continues to affect both students and on-campus adults, we are proud of our community’s due diligence and high vaccination rate, especially in our third through eighth-grade classes. Our community’s commitment to safety only underscores that vaccination is the most critical prevention tool against getting COVID or experiencing serious illness during a breakthrough case. Thank you for keeping our community safe, and we continue to encourage eligible middle school students to receive their vaccine boosters as soon as possible. Families of children who have not yet received their initial two vaccine doses are strongly encouraged to make appointments and start this important process.
We’re grateful to each family for your excellent communication with Ms. Padilla and your child(ren)’s teachers if your child is not feeling well. We deeply appreciate that students who feel sick are staying home and seeking a test to learn more. It has been heartening to see so many “upgraded” masks worn around campus too, and students are doing an excellent job dressing warmly for school while we ventilate our classrooms with safe, outdoor air. As COVID cases in King County decrease, our collective efforts will undoubtedly help us safely reach the other side of the Omicron surge.
As always, please let us know if you have any questions. This is a changing environment, and we will continue to share any new updates as they become available.
With deep gratitude,
Julie Thenell Grasseschi, Interim Head of School