PSS to begin offering COVID-19 testing in schools
In line with its goal to safely and fully open all of the CNMI’s public schools, the CNMI Public School System through the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. will offer antigen testing for COVID-19.
Students will be tested using the Abbot BinaxNOW test kit, which reports results after 15 minutes and is a minimally invasive nasal swab compared to the COVID-19 PCR test. Registering for testing, and screening testing schedules for all schools can be found at covidtesting.chcc.health.
According to CHCC’s chief of ancillary services Jesse Tudela on Monday, the school-based COVID-19 screening testing is an opt-in service that mainly serves to allow CHCC to “conduct active surveillance on a highly transmissible virus.” When asked how often on-campus students will be tested, Tudela said it is up to the student’s respective schools to determine how often they want their students tested for COVID-19.
In an informational video that PSS published on Monday, PSS says the test “feels similar to cleaning your nose,” and students will only experience minimal pressure as the swab is inserted between ½ to ¾ inches into the nose.
As also explained in the video, PSS asks parents who wish to have their child tested for COVID-19 to visit covidtesting.chcc.health; provide parental consent; select the school their child is attending; take note of the confirmation number received; and brief and prepare their child to ensure a calm experience. PSS invites parents to contact their child’s schools for updates and to ask questions.
PSS’s informational video on antigen COVID-19 testing can be found at https://www.cnmipss.org/sites/default/files/pss_antigen_screening_testing_guide_0.mp4