DeKalb School District 428 will soon offer COVID-19 antigen testing to symptomatic staff

As DeKalb School District 428 continues to welcome students back into the classroom, many for the first time since the pandemic began, school officials announced this week that they soon will begin offering COVID-19 rapid testing.

The announcement was made at Tuesday’s virtual board meeting. The tests will be an antigen test in partnership with the DeKalb County Health Department, according to a contract outlined by both parties.

The Abbott BinaxNOW test is an antigen nasal swab test that detects the presence of SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes a COVID-19 infection, in 15 to 30 minutes. The board said the district will first offer the rapid antigen tests for symptomatic staff before expanding it to students.

The tests will be administered by trained district nurses, documents show, although the timeline for testing rollout was not clear. The board indicated its support Tuesday.

Testing will be provided at no cost to individuals, and results will be communicated to the individuals or parents and guardians accordingly, documents show.

In other news

The board also discussed not having District 428 students complete assessment tests this year. Each year students take state assessment tests mandated by the federal government. Last year, the government waived the assessments due to the pandemic, and educators are asking the same for this school year. A letter signed by 682 Illinois superintendents is seeking assessment waivers.

Amy Luckner, District 428′s assessment and multitiered system of supports coordinator, said the main reason for not having the assessment testing is because it would take up too much in-person learning time, “especially because they have to be administered in person, and there’s very limited in-person time we have right now with our students.”

Other topics of discussion during the meeting included the district’s annual audit for fiscal 2020, clearing out items from Chesebro Elementary School before renovation and allotting 10 additional summer days for the Curriculum and Instruction team costing $34,747.

The board also voted to accept a bid for the Huntley Middle School roofing project by Freeport Industrial Roofing for $719,500, to waive parking fees for the 2021 school year at DeKalb High School and to approve the purchase of 1,700 Chromebooks at a total cost of $756,500.

Katrina J.E. Milton

Award-winning reporter and photographer for Shaw Media publications, including The Daily Chronicle and The MidWeek newspapers in DeKalb County, Illinois, since 2012.