South Loop School’s Onsite COVID Testing

This school year, CPS is partnering with Thermo Fisher Scientific and Color Health to offer PCR-based, lab-pooled COVID testing to all students and staff. 

School-based testing will begin on Wednesday for staff and unvaccinated students. Vaccinated students can opt into regular testing also. Please read through the resorues, FAG and testing information below.

SOUTH LOOP PRIMARY 1212 S Plymouth Court Chicago IL 60616-1225 8:30 am -10:30 am

SOUTH LOOP MIDDLE SCHOOL 1601 S DEARBORN ST Chicago IL 60616-1225 11:00 pm – 1:00 pm

SOUTH LOOP EARLY CHILDHOOD 1914 S Federal Street Chicago IL 60616-1225 1:00 pm -3:30 pm

Parents or guardians must complete the COVID-19 Testing Consent Form that was emailed to all parents and guardians from CPSnoreply@cps.edu on Friday, August 27, 2021 if they want their child tested. Weekly testing will occur at school during the school day.
COVID-19 testing consent will only need to be completed once per year. Unvaccinated students cannot participate in sports without testing consent. Please find Consent Form instructions for your school below:

  • Open the COVID-19 Testing Parent Consent Form Link.
  • Scroll to find your specific school name in the left-hand column
  • On the far right side of the document, under the URL STUDENTS tab, please select and share ONLY your respective school’s student testing consent form link. This link can be shared with parents/guardians.
  • Once the link is open, please have parents answer the screener questions as asymptomatic in order to proceed to the consent sign-off page.
  • Once parents/guardians complete the consent form, the student will be eligible to test in order to play sports.
  • Please review the CPS COVID-19 Testing FAQ document for commonly asked questions

General Testing Questions

Student Testing Questions

Lab and Testing Questions

General COVID Questions

General Testing Questions

  • What is the COVID-19 Testing Program?
    • CPS has partnered with Thermo Fisher to offer free, regular testing to students and staff for COVID-19. Regular testing means that testing is offered to everyone on a weekly basis, even if they don’t have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • How often will testing occur? 
    • Testing will be offered to all staff and students weekly. 
  • Where will testing occur? 
    • CPS will offer testing on-site at schools during the school day on a weekly basis.
  • How much does the test cost?
    • The COVID-19 tests will be free to students and staff. You will never receive a bill, and your insurance will not be charged.
  • How is the test administered?
    • The test will involve a nasal swab. It is a quick and easy test. This nasal test gently swabs the inner part of the lower nostril. The test is not painful. We do not use the longer swabs that reach higher into the nose. There will be medical personnel on site to supervise swabbing and support students if needed. 
  • What are the qualifications of the COVID-19 testers? 
    • Collection of samples (swabbing) will be conducted by students/staff unless participants need assistance. In this instance the onsite medical staff, which are experienced medical clinicians can administer sample collection. 
  • When and where will the test be given?
    • We are working with each school to create a consistent day and time for the testing teams to collect samples at your school. Testing will take place at school in a location designated by the school principal where social distancing can be easily observed. Each school principal will receive a notification from Thermo Fisher with the date and time and will share this information with the whole school community. 
  • Who will be conducting testing?
    • Chicago Public Schools has contracted with Fisher Scientific Company L.L.C. a part of Thermo Fisher Scientific. 
    • Employee tests are self-administered, but testing teams will include a healthcare provider and support staff to provide the safest possible environment for efficient testing. 
    • Students can self-administer under supervision or have the clinical staff assist them with swabbing.
  • When are results available?
    • The results of the test should be available within 24-48 hrs.
  • Why do results take so long?
    • Our testing program uses a PCR test, which does not provide immediate results because it is sent to a lab for analysis.
  • What is the process for consenting?
    • Parents/guardians and staff will receive an email with a link unique to your school and your role (student/staff), which will take you to CPS’ technology vendor Color’s website. You will use this link to register and sign a virtual consent to be tested. Please reach out to your school principal or covidtestingcps.edu if you did not receive a link or would like to request a paper copy.
  • Do staff and students need to re-consent every week? 
    • No, once you have registered and consented once, you do not need to resubmit registration before testing each week. 
  • What is the process for revoking consent?
    • Email readycheckgo@color.com with subject line “Testing Opt Out” and the information below. 
      1. Student: 
        • First Name, Last Name, DOB, School Name
        • Parent/Guardian First Name, Last Name, Email Address, Phone Number
      2. Staff
        • First Name, Last Name, DOB, School Name
  • How frequently will testing be offered to students and staff who consent?
    • Testing will be offered onsite weekly.
  • Can students and staff with COVID-like symptoms get tested on their school’s testing day?
    • No. For the health and safety of the entire school community, anyone with COVID-like symptoms should stay home and contact their primary care provider for a diagnostic test. Screening testing is only for asymptomatic individuals.
  •  What test will be used? Is it painful?
    • The test will involve a nasal swab. It is a quick and easy test. This nasal test gently swabs the inner part of the lower nostril. The test will not hurt, but it may feel slightly uncomfortable. We do not use the longer swabs that reach higher into the nose.
    • Employees will self-administer the test by inserting a cotton swab into both nostrils and rotating it in each nostril to collect the specimen. The test will not hurt, but it may feel slightly uncomfortable. Resulting specimens will be collected and analyzed by Thermo Fisher.
    • Students can self-administer under supervision or have the clinical staff assist them with swabbing.
  • Do staff or students who test positive need to take another test before returning to work?
    • No, once a person tests positive for COVID-19 on a diagnostic test, the CDC recommends that they do not retest for 90 days (unless recommended by a primary care physician due to new symptoms) because people can continue to test positive but not be contagious.
  • Will test results be shared with any other entities and/or agencies?
    • Positive results will be shared with the principal at the school or a staff member’s direct supervisor so they understand why you are going home and can put in place classroom coverage and the communications protocol as needed.
    • Results of the PCR test are shared with the person who tested, the district for contact tracing purposes, and state health authorities as required by law. 
  • What safety precautions are being taken during the testing?
    • Chicago Public Schools will follow precautions prescribed by public health agencies. All testing staff will perform hand hygiene before testing and wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). This includes an APR or N95 mask, face shield, gloves, and medical gown for healthcare staff assisting with specimen collection, and face masks and additional items for other team members. All PPE and testing-related materials will be properly disposed of once testing is completed, followed by additional hand hygiene. Hand sanitizer is available to everyone who participates in testing, and the testing team has access to a handwashing facility with soap and water.
  • If someone tests positive then what happens? What is the procedure for quarantining close contacts (e.g., students and non-teaching staff)? 
    • A close contact is anyone who has been within six feet of the presumptive positive person for 15 minutes or longer within a 24-hour period, with or without a mask. The CPS contact tracing team will follow this protocol and be in touch with next steps.
  • Can unvaccinated staff or student athletes use a test result from another location to meet the testing requirements? 
    • No. At this time, unvaccinated staff and student athletes must participate in the CPS-sponsored testing at their school. 

Student Testing Questions

  • Why is my child’s school testing for COVID-19?
    • Regular testing is a safe, effective way to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and help keep our schools open for in-person learning. Many people with COVID-19, especially children and teens, don’t have symptoms but can still spread the virus, so regular testing helps find infections before they can spread to others. This is especially important for children under 12 years old who are not yet able to get vaccinated against COVID-19, families and staff with younger children at home, and others who are not vaccinated or are otherwise at risk for getting seriously sick from COVID-19. Regular testing will help us keep students in the classroom and allow students to take part in the other activities they love.
  • Does my child have to get tested to attend school in person?
    • No, COVID-19 tests are optional, although strongly encouraged, especially for those who are unvaccinated. Students will not be tested without both the student and guardian giving their consent.
  • Does my child have to get tested to take part in school sports and extracurricular activities?
    •  COVID-19 tests are required to take part in school sports. Student athletes must get tested once per week to be eligible to play in upcoming games. 
  • What if I consent to my child being tested and then on the day of testing my child refuses?
    • A child can refuse to be tested even if their parent has consented. They can simply decline the test when it is offered to them during the school day. Please note that testing is mandatory for unvaccinated student athletes and if an athlete declines a test, this may limit their sports participation.  
  • How will the school protect my child’s privacy?
    • Testing results will be shared only for public health purposes, which may include notifying close contacts that they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and taking other steps to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in your school community. Information sharing and notifying of contacts will be done in a way that protects your child’s privacy. Sharing of information about your child will only be done in accordance with applicable law and policies protecting student privacy and the security of your child’s data.
  • How soon will the parent/guardian be notified that his/her child is being tested for the day? 
    • Each school will have a consistent testing schedule and can expect that their child will be offered testing weekly if consent has been provided. 
  • How do I find my students email address or student ID?
    • Student email address – All students are issued a CPS account upon enrollment; however, students who have never logged in to their account will need to claim their account before they can access their email and other CPS applications.  See more information about claiming CPS accounts here.
    • Student ID – All CPS students are issued a student ID.  Student IDs can be obtained from the student’s school or by logging in to Parent Portal (Aspen) and navigating to the “Family” tab. 
  • How frequently will my child be tested?
    • Our regular testing will take place every week.
  • Will my child miss class to get tested?
    • No, testing shouldn’t interfere with your child’s school schedule. The test is quick and easy, and students will be able to fit the test into their day without disrupting learning. The entire testing process should take approximately five minutes. 
  • Can I test my own child?
    • No, the testing must be done under the supervision of a healthcare professional.
  • What if my child tests positive?
    • We will ask you to keep your child home. You will be asked to provide information about your child’s close contacts so that everyone who has been exposed can be notified. We will be in touch to discuss medical care and other support for your child and family. 
  • What if someone in my child’s school tests positive?
    • CPS contact tracing will be reaching out to you via email if your child was deemed a close contact of someone who has COVID-19. 
  • Who do I call if I have a question about the status of my child’s results?
    • ReadyCheckGo Support: 
      1. Phone: 844-658-0388, Option 1
      2. Email: readycheckgo@color.com
      3. Daily, 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. CST 

Lab and Testing Questions

  • What test is used? 
    • We will use a viral test, known as a nucleic acid amplification (NAAT) test, that is analyzed by a lab and takes about 24 hours to get results back. This test will tell if you or your child has a current COVID-19 infection, regardless of whether symptoms are present.
  • Is the test reliable?
    • Tests can show a false negative or false positive, but most test results are useful and give families the information they need. 
    • The test administered is a lab-based pooling PCR test, any positive pools identified through testing will automatically be confirmed using a single diagnostic PCR test. 
    • The test utilized is a laboratory pooled RT PCR test which provides accurate results with high confidence even at low viral loads. The TaqPath Pooling kit has a sensitivity of 50GCE/ml and has demonstrated 100% PPA for a pool size of 5  (percent agreement, meets FDA performance guidelines (>95%)) in a clinical evaluation study).
  • What is a lab pooled sample?
    • Pooled sample testing means that two or more people provide specimens that are combined together at the laboratory where the test is conducted to detect SARS-CoV-2. 
    • If the pool is positive for SARS-CoV-2, then the individual samples part of that pool are re-run and each person is notified of an individual result of positive or negative.
    • For the CPS testing program, a maximum of 5 samples are pooled together in the lab.
  • Why is the district using pooled testing? 
    • Pooling specimens allows laboratories to increase the volume of testing while using fewer testing materials. Pooling can also increase efficiency (time and labor) and reduce the overall cost of testing. 
      1. You can learn more about pooled testing at the CDC’s website.
  • If a pool tests positive, is the parent/guardian or staff member notified?
    • Because the sample is pooled randomly in the lab and not on site, individuals will not receive notification if someone in the pool tests positive. This is because each person tested will receive an individual result of positive or negative. If an individual has been exposed to someone who tests positive, CPS will follow contract tracing protocols to alert individuals and/or parents of next actions. 

General COVID Questions

  • What do I do if I test positive outside of this program?
    • If you are a CPS student or staff, please self report your positive case to CPS.edu/COVIDresults and CPS will reach out to you to complete an interview to identify any close contacts. 
  • What should an employee/student do if a member of their household tests positive?
    • Even if the unvaccinated employee/student is asymptomatic, they may have been exposed to the virus and should stay home for 14 days after their last exposure. CDPH also recommends that the close contact gets tested three to five days after being exposed, regardless of vaccination status. Visit the CDPH website to find a testing site near you. 
  • What is the distinction between isolation and quarantine?
    • Health authorities require those who have tested positive for COVID-19 to complete an “isolation” period; those who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and do not have symptoms of COVID-19 must complete a “quarantine” period. In practice, isolation and quarantine both mean to stay home and stay separated from others who have not been exposed to COVID-19.

Related Posts