Three Rivers Community Schools Interim Superintendent Nikki Nash announced Monday that Three Rivers will be participating in the MI Backpack Home Tests pilot program, which will provide a limited number of free, at-home COVID-19 antigen tests to students and staff in Michigan’s schools during the 2021-2022 school year.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) program “offers one more tool to create a safer environment for students, staff, and families,” as COVID-19 numbers continue to spike around the state. In an email to TRCS families, Nash said parents who opt into the MI Backpack Home Tests program will receive one test kit, which includes two at-home tests.
The at-home test requires a simple swab, less than one inch into the nostril, after which test results are available within 15 minutes. Testing is not recommended for those who have recovered from confirmed COVID-19 in the past three months and remain symptom-free, and students exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms are still expected to isolate at home.
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, vomiting, diarrhea, and skin rashes. The pilot program is entirely voluntary, according to Nash, and will be made available within two school days based on availability. TRCS will use a first to respond, first to receive process.
“The health and safety of our school community is important to us all,” Nash wrote. “COVID-19 testing for staff and students is just one of many ways our school is working to help keep our school community safe from the virus. Wearing masks, washing hands often, maintaining social distance wherever possible, and getting staff and students vaccinated all remain important safety measures. We are excited to offer the MI Backpack Home Tests program to you as one extra layer of safety.”
Alek Haak-Frost is executive editor of Watershed Voice.