Whether you’re a superintendent, a teacher, or a parent—we’re here to help. Read below for answers to questions like “How long does it take to test a whole class?” or “Do I have to touch the swabs?” and other questions from teachers and administrators.
The whole process is designed to have minimal impact on in-class learning. Typically, it takes about 10-15 minutes depending on how comfortable the class is with the procedure. We’ve noticed in our pilots that the process speeds up after the first testing day.
Though we designed the protocol to be safely carried out by teachers, we understand that not all teachers have the same comfort level with handling biohazard material. Please coordinate with your Test Supervisor to arrange for a school nurse or healthcare professional to help with this process.
Please coordinate with your Test Supervisor on how testing will be run at your school. Typically, teachers safely open empty collection tubes at the start of sample collection and close and sanitize the tube at the end of sample collection. Because we designed the protocol to not require a school nurse or healthcare professional, the samples are safe to handle with the necessary PPE as outlined by your State and Public Health Officials. The minimal PPE to handle these samples is a face mask and gloves.
Teachers oversee the classrooms on test days. Teachers will observe students while they self-collect samples from a safe distance and will ensure a smooth collection process either inside the classroom or at a central collection spot.
The school will retain all of the consent forms for the students. At the beginning of each testing day, teachers will be given a roster of students whose legal guardians have given consent. Only students with completed consent forms will be able to contribute to the pooled test.
We’re here for you! Our team helps you do everything you need. The first thing we do with new customers is provide them with instructions on how they should set up and run a testing program. We can supply you with all the help you need to ensure everything runs smoothly.
Teacher samples can be added to the classroom pool. However, we have observed schools choose individual diagnostic testing periodically for teachers and staff, as teachers may move around to different classrooms.
All students who have returned a completed consent form and who have not tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 3 months can participate in testing.
For self-collected nasal swabs, teachers in the classroom will observe students from a safe distance to ensure they are correctly executing the AN swab. For assisted collection, a school nurse or outside healthcare practitioner can collect the samples.
For students who cannot self-collect, the school nurse or an outside healthcare practitioner can collect the samples.
Because our test does not diagnose individuals, results are not submitted to the local, state, tribal, or territory health department.
The school is responsible for collecting consent forms and following up with parents after it obtains the results from Ginkgo.
In most cases, one classroom is considered one pool. Currently, the minimum number for a pool is 5 while the maximum for a pool is 25 individual swabs.
Teachers do not administer the tests. The testing protocol for pooled classroom testing is a self-collected anterior nasal swab. Students will collect their own swabs. In case students cannot collect their own swabs, a school nurse or outside healthcare professional can administer the test.
Yes. We recommend that individuals who have recently tested positive for COVID-19 not be included in pooled testing for at least 3 months post recovery as they may still produce a positive test result.
This is a self-collected anterior nasal (AN) swab. Unlike a nasopharyngeal swab, which reaches deep into the nose to take a sample from the back of the throat, an AN sample is taken from the lower part of the front of the nose , at least half an inch inside the nostril. This method both increases comfort and requires less PPE than nasopharyngeal swabs. Instead of a healthcare provider performing the test, students can easily collect their own samples under teacher supervision.
This method of testing uses a molecular test that detects the presence of the viral RNA. In Ginkgo’s lab, we use a molecular test similar to qPCR based on a technology known as next-generation sequencing (NGS), in which a small part of the coronavirus genome is sequenced or “read” to determine whether or not that virus is present in a sample. We are also partnering with and validating PCR labs to run pooled molecular tests.
Molecular tests are highly accurate at detecting the virus that causes COVID-19. In validation studies, our test was able to correctly identify 96% of positive tests detected by the “gold standard” PCR test using a deep nasal swab and 100% of negatives (meaning that there were no false positives).
We estimate the cost to be about $150 USD per pool of 5-25+ people (~$6 per student in a pool of 25).
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We have multiple controls in the test process: RNA extraction controls, high and low positive controls using spiked in virus, negative controls, and rt-PCR controls.
Classroom pooling is a testing method where lower nasal swabs from everyone in a class are mixed together and tested with a single molecular test. This gives schools and districts population-level data to make informed public health decisions at a fraction of the cost of individual testing plans.
We are focused on providing testing to every K-12 school in America. We have experience providing testing for schools, senior living facilities, corporations, and more. If you have questions about whether Concentric is a good fit for your organization, contact us.
Ginkgo Bioworks is a company that uses the most advanced technology on the planet — biology — to solve problems across diverse markets, from food to fragrance to pharmaceuticals.
Concentric by Ginkgo is a COVID-19 testing service that doesn’t just provide test kits—we provide a complete, end-to-end testing service.