DeKALB – DeKalb School District 428 is preparing for the launch of COVID-19 SHIELD testing in about two weeks.
SHIELD testing, developed by the University of Illinois, is a saliva-based PCR test that is free and easy to administer. Medically-trained personnel are not needed to obtain samples.
According to the University of Illinois’ website, notification time for SHIELD testing is less than 24 hours, usually six to 12 hours. The website also states: “The saliva test has a sensitivity of 97% and a specificity of 99%, with very few false positives. High specificity combined with frequent testing makes the SHIELD saliva-based test extremely accurate.” The test also identifies pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19.
Kyle Gerdes, director of student services for DeKalb, said that SHIELD testing is planned to begin Oct. 14, but the launch date may be pushed back a week due to high demand for the tests. When available, testing will be offered free of charge to students and staff weekly.
Consent forms are available on Skyward, the school’s information system.
Gerdes said that so far, 450 staff members and 304 students have registered for SHIELD testing.
“We’d like to get those student numbers up a little bit because I think that’s really what’s going to help us keep our positivity rates in our schools as low as it can be, and also avoid quarantines as much as possible,” he said. “Keeping kids in school is the goal.’
For more information about SHIELD testing, visit www.shieldillinois.com.
The next DeKalb Board of Education meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 19.