First, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has announced that as of March 1st, the previous travel quarantine restrictions are no longer in effect. This means that you can travel out of state and are not required to either quarantine or present a negative test upon your return.
Second, as part of our comprehensive, multilayered approach to the safety and protection of students and staff, we are launching a COVID-19 testing program, which will include both asymptomatic and symptomatic testing for all students and staff, beginning in our 53 buildings with students returning on March 8th.
Onsite Staff Testing Program Details
All onsite employees in buildings with students will be required to participate in a COVID test on a weekly basis. Medical providers will come on site to administer the tests to employees in each of our student occupied school buildings and in our satellite buildings that support schools, including the garages and central office. The time and location will vary based on the building, though all testing will be conducted during normal business hours.
Employees will need to register in the system of our medical provider partners -- this can be done ahead of time or on the day of, prior to being tested. We will send you a link to register in a separate email prior to the testing program’s start. By registering in the system, you will receive a copy of your COVID-19 test results, which will also be shared with the District.
About the COVID-19 Test
Both students and staff will receive the Abbott’s BinaxNOW COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test. This is a quick and painless nasal swab of both nostrils -- this is NOT the deep-sinus swabs that some individuals have found uncomfortable. Results are available in 15 minutes. THIS video shows how the test will be administered to both students and staff. If the first test yields an unexpected result (for example, you have no symptoms but you test positive), an additional confirmatory test will be conducted using a second test. Similar to the first test, this confirmatory method will not involve the deep-sinus swab.
Program Participation Participation is mandatory for students and employees in order to be in our buildings, with the exception of those who have demonstrated medical exemption and staff and students who are working and learning remotely. During the first test, you will be asked to provide consent that will cover the duration of the program. Any onsite employee who refuses to participate will be placed on a leave without pay.
Expanded Access to Testing at Mobile SItes
In partnership with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) we are also providing the opportunity for all staff - including those working remotely - to be tested for COVID-19 across the city if they begin to be symptomatic. This service is provided for convenience but is solely optional.
Starting Monday, March 8th, mobile units will be set up in the parking lot at each of the following locations:
Martin Luther King High School; 6100 Stenton Avenue Philadelphia , Pennsylvania 19138
Northeast High School; 1601 Cottman Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19111
South Philadelphia High School; 2101 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19148 in the parking lot at the corner of Jackson and S Broad
Strawberry Mansion; 3133 Ridge Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19132
Tilden Middle School; 6601 Elmwood Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19142
The hours of operation will be Monday through Friday from 9am to 6pm. You can either sign up for an appointment or walk up without an appointment.We will provide information regarding the appointment registration process when they open next week. While use of these sites are optional, all District staff and students, including those who are participating in 100% virtual learning, can be tested at no cost.
If an employee is confirmed to test positive while onsite, that employee will be instructed to exit the building and begin isolation.The Office of Employee Health will also immediately commence the required steps in our Positive Test Protocol and connect with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health to begin contact tracing.
We will continue to provide updates on this new program. For now, for more information on the employee testing, please visit the Office of Employee Health page: https://www.philasd.org/employeehealth/.