Middlesex County teams with East Brunswick to slow spread of COVID-19 in schools
Middlesex County is partnering with East Brunswick to unveil a pilot program to help prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the township’s school system.
Middlesex County was the first in the state to introduce a breakthrough saliva-based test to the public via drive-thru. And now the county, in coordination with East Brunswick, is utilizing the testing kits to help keep students and faculty protected from the virus.
“The purpose of this is to be able to get people back to school safely,” says East Brunswick Mayor Brad Cohen.
The pilot program allows students, staff and faculty to get tested for COVID-19 voluntarily onsite by school nurses. Test results are returned within 48 hours.
"What we're hoping to do is by identifying people early enough in an asymptomatic state, to be able to pull people out, do contact tracing, and be able to keep schools functioning without the risk of any super-spreader events,” says Cohen.
The mayor says that the program is influenced by the United States Air Force Academy testing model.
"What I ended up doing was contacting the Air Force Academy, who had already put through a program which helped identify through their pandemic math team, the right type of equation to determine what the appropriate number and frequency of testing would need to be done in order to try to keep the rates low enough to keep schools open,” the mayor says.
The East Brunswick program will include the testing of 15% of the student and staff population at a time. Parental consent would be required for students to receive the test.
"We're hoping to be able to continue to monitor the rate of transmission or positivity in the school, which we're hoping will be very low, so the schools can gauge about bringing more students back into the classroom environment,” says Middlesex County Health Officer Lester Jones.
Testing will be provided at no cost.