Pooled Testing

posted Aug 20, 2021, 7:49 AM by Vincent Vanier

pooled testingAs our students return to school across the Valley Unified service area and we continue with precautions to minimize the risk of COVID-19 spread, we are looking forward to a year of full in-school instruction for all of our students.  We hope to maintain full in-school instruction throughout the school year by maintaining a safe environment for our students, employees, families, and communities. To support those goals, we will partner with Concentric by Ginkgo to provide a voluntary and free COVID-19 pooled testing program.


To successfully implement a voluntary pooled testing program, we will need your help.  To help you decide whether to enroll your student in our pooled testing program, we have provided you important information below.  

What is pooled testing?

“Pooling” can test 25 people using one test.  All participating students in a class swab their own noses and place their swabs in a single tube (that’s the pooling step). The samples in that tube are then run as a single sample, using one test.  If a sample indicates a positive test result, then we work to identify who in the class has contracted COVID-19 by conducting individual tests.  


Why pooled testing? 

You know the old saying: “knowledge is power.” Without knowing if COVID-19 is present in our schools, it’s tough for us to make informed decisions about safeguarding our school community and continuing with in-person learning.  This program will provide us with objective data regarding COVID positive cases in our schools, which will help us make objective decisions regarding the measures we need to take in order to keep everyone safe.

Why should my student participate?

Being part of pooled testing will allow your child to stay in school and in school-related extracurricular activities even if they are considered a close contact of someone in the school who has been identified as positive for COVID-19.  They will not have to miss school days due to quarantine.  They will not miss in-school instruction.  They can continue to take part in afterschool activities.  And you will not lose time from work due to having your child at home in quarantine.  Only students with completed consent forms are able to participate in testing. If you do not want your child to participate, your student will not be included in the testing program. 

What if my child has been vaccinated?

Vaccinated individuals are also highly encouraged to participate in pooled testing, because even vaccinated individuals can contract and spread COVID-19.  Your student will have the peace of mind from week to week knowing that (s)he is not unknowingly passing the virus on to anyone else. 

Pooled testing will help us make informed decisions about in-person learning and it will allow students, teachers, and other staff to come to school with peace of mind.   Your school will soon be reaching out to you about the opportunity to participate in pooled testing.  We hope you will consider enrolling your student in the program at your school at that time.  Stay safe and be well.


Benjamin Sirois

Superintendent of Schools