Testing Surveillance Protocols for Schools

As schools across the country reconvene, administrators are grappling with holding classes in the face of the Delta variant of COVID-19. Coronavirus infections are expected to trend upward, but the New York Times writes that Surveillance may hold the key to keeping the numbers in schools and on campuses manageable.

During that year, the university implemented an ambitious experiment in virus surveillance. It included testing, two to three times a week, of tens of thousands of students, faculty members and staff members — everyone who came to campus — in the hopes of keeping the coronavirus in check. It served as a model for other educational institutions, and some carried out similar programs.

“We still know of no hospitalizations or deaths caused by spread on our campus,” said Martin D. Burke, a chemistry professor who led the university’s testing strategy.

This month, ahead of this year’s return to campus, a paper by Illinois researchers is calling the Covid testing program a major success not just for the university but also the surrounding community, lowering the number of deaths from the disease.

But university officials acknowledge that there were missteps and that lessons were learned. They are also grappling with the uncertainty arising from the Delta variant and how much testing and other measures will be needed.

Read the full article in the NYTimes here.