5 November OPS Pilots COVID-19 Testing Program November 5, 2020 By Layne Gabriel Announcements Health & Safety Throughout 2020, we have shared that the health and safety of our students, staff and their families are at the forefront of all that we do. Our layers of precautions are a demonstration of that commitment to our community. Ahead of our return to in-person learning, all Omaha Public Schools staff participated in proactive testing for COVID-19. That approach helped identify anyone who may have contracted the virus without symptoms and provided valuable information as our district prepared to welcome students. Having completed our phased approach to returning in person, our focus is responsibly maintaining in-person learning. To support that work, we are excited to announce a partnership with the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), Nebraska Medicine and OneWorld Community Health Centers to provide regular, proactive, saliva-based testing for COVID-19. The pilot program, called PROactive TEsting for Community Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 or PROTECTS, will begin with Marrs Middle School, Norris Middle School and Bryan High School. Testing will be required for staff and optional for students who are learning in person. There will be no cost to students or staff for the tests. As part of the partnership, supervisors from UNMC will assist at school with the collection of saliva samples from staff and participating students. If a student or staff member were to test positive, OneWorld will contact the staff member or parent/guardian to communicate the test result and provide guidance on next steps. Positive results would also be communicated to Omaha Public Schools and the Douglas County Health Department for contact tracing. Personal information is otherwise kept strictly confidential. In addition to saliva testing at Marrs Middle School, Norris Middle School and Bryan High School for staff and students whose families opt-in, crews will test high-touch surfaces, air and wastewater samples weekly at these locations. Those additional tests will provide a more complete picture of where COVID-19 may be present and best allow our district staff to respond. At UNMC, the anonymous testing data will be used for research into COVID-19. This partnership helps ensure we can continue to learn in person in a responsible way. This will be a multi-month pilot program that will begin at Marrs Middle School, Norris Middle School and Bryan High School and could expand to other school communities in the future. Please visit the FAQ for additional information on the proactive testing program. We care deeply about those we serve. Comments are closed.