LHS Encourages Pooled Testing Participation


LPS Pool Testing kits available to fight against Covid-19. Photo by Sujin Lee

Anagha Chakravarti and Zahra Karim

Last year, the nursing department worked with Mirimus Clinical Labs to implement a pooled testing program at Lexington High School in order to keep the school safe and open during the pandemic. As the Omicron variant surges, students continue to have the option to participate. 

Students can pick up testing kits every Tuesday outside of any Dean office, in the Main Hallway, outside the nurses’ office or in the Commons. They then return their testing kit to the same locations the following morning. 

Once the samples are collected, they are separated into groups to undergo testing. If a specific group tests positive, they perform another test to find which sample among the group is positive, and continue doing so until the sample is identified. Before students can participate in the program, they need to complete an online consent form. On the LPS & COVID19 website, students can find the form, learn more about the program, and watch a video on how to take their saliva sample. 

“It’s actually really convenient, you just scan the barcode and you’re fine. It’s pretty simple, pretty straightforward,” Muztaba Syed, a freshman who regularly participates in the pooled testing program, said. 

However, setting up the program with the laboratory, and increasing participation in the program has proven to be difficult for the LHS nurses. 

“One of the challenges is getting people to test, both staff and students. So we’ve had to do a lot of outreach and encouragement in the community and in the schools,” Suzan Kaftan, a nurse at LHS said. 

The safety and security component of the program ensures the success of the program among the LHS student body.

“It just gives a sense of security like you get to make sure every week. Also they request that you do it, so it helps the school, and it helps keep everyone safe,” Syed said.

Students who chose to opt out of the program agree that the benefits of the program include preventing the spread of COVID-19, especially with the current surge in cases.

“You are able to know your results daily and it creates a safe environment for everyone. And also with the rise in COVID cases, it helps to get tested earlier since some may not experience symptoms,” Maisha Afia, a junior who does not participate in the pooled testing program, said. 

Students believe that there is room for improvement with regards to the program’s availability and student participation.

 “I think just having the testing kits available to everyone in more locations because sometimes they run out. Sometimes they’re hard to find, sometimes you forget to drop them off. Maybe more reminders, and making it more accessible to everyone would encourage more participation,” Syed said.

Despite this, students still note the benefits of the pooled testing program.

“I recommend that you participate in the program. It’s really good and it’s really easy and keeps everyone safe,” Syed said.