Should Students Be Given COVID Tests Immediately After Exposure?

Should Students Be Given COVID Tests Immediately After Exposure?

Andrea Fabian, Staff Writer

Most schools have been simply notifying students and parents of exposure and taking action accordingly, but could tests be given to possibly limit the spread of the virus?

Students have been asking this question since school began and COVID saw another rise. Instead of having to quarantine for the CDC’s recommended time period, many kids have wondered if tests could be given as soon as exposure happens to not risk their schooling. The question is valid and could be a successful factor in pausing the quick spread of cases, but the solution is not so simple. 

According to nbcchicago.com, the CDC says that a positive test is more likely to show five days after exposure, or as soon as symptoms begin. Giving tests as soon as exposure happens would heighten the chances of a false-negative, giving students the ability and opportunity to spread the virus even further without realizing it. 

To try and prevent the spread of coronavirus’ new strains, isolation should be necessary. A small five-day period would be smart for those without the vaccination, giving enough time for a true negative test while also taking the right precautions. This isolation period should also be optional for those with the vaccine, despite the fact that they’ve gotten the shots, simply because it could help to limit the spread. In fact, many studies found that quarantines were most effective in limiting the spread, says both cochrane.org and the CDC.

Many parents and kids express concern over an isolation period, however, because of the looming pile of schoolwork that would inevitably build. Another quarantine would simply make students fall further behind on their schooling, jeopardizing grades and education. This concern is valid, but with cooperation from teachers and staff, remote learning techniques could be successful in preventing students from falling behind. This would give students the ability to maintain their schooling without risking the health of those around them. 

Instead of testing immediately, a quarantine mandate could limit the spread of COVID. By using remote techniques, teachers could make the quarantine a period of time where students can still maintain their grades while also preventing the spread of the virus.