Vermont will start testing K-12 teachers and staff for COVID-19 starting next week as a strategy that health officials hope will help to track the spread of the coronavirus in communities.
Teachers and school staff are not at a higher risk of contracting the illness caused by the virus but they “represent a large group of individuals in an organized setting” and could help the state better identify cases before an outbreak, Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said this week.
The tests will be given voluntarily starting next week and resume monthly after the Thanksgiving holiday break, the Burlington Free Press reported. Those who are tested will not be required to quarantine while awaiting their results.
“Testing of school personnel is a public health surveillance strategy,” Levine said. “Surveillance testing is done in a population to assess how much virus is present in people who are otherwise feeling quite well and don’t know that they may be.”
The state reported 94 new cases Saturday, while the number of deaths remained at 59. The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Vermont has risen over the past two weeks from 20 new cases per day on Oct. 30 to 60 new cases per day on Nov. 13.