In support of Governor Hogan’s commitment to supporting schools returning to in-person instruction in Maryland starting in March 2021 through the remainder of the school year, the Maryland Department of Health’s COVID-19 Testing Task Force and Maryland State Department of Education launched a diagnostic testing program to provide free COVID-19 tests in public and non-public schools.
For schools that opted in to the program, the state is providing both rapid antigen point-of-care and confirmatory PCR tests. Approximately 1,200 public schools and more than 60 independent schools enrolled in the state testing program, covering more than one million students.
Abbott Labs, the provider of the rapid tests, and Mako Medical Laboratories, the provider of the PCR tests, delivered training to school nurses to oversee testing in school buildings. If a student or adult on campus receives a positive result from a rapid antigen test administered at the school or develops symptoms consistent with COVID-19, the school nurse performs a nasal swab collection, appropriately seals the sample, and FedEx the sample to the lab for processing.
All needed testing supplies and shipping materials are provided, as well as IT integration support for reporting PCR test results to student guardians, the school, and public health authorities as appropriate. All test results are delivered in 48 hours or less from collection of the specimen.
Mako Medical Laboratories collaborated with Maryland education and health leaders to create customized training materials, videos, and informational flyers to train local school staff as well as state nurses on proper Mako Medical Laboratories’ nasal collection and ordering and resulting workflows. These materials were then distributed to over 1200 schools along with 100,000 COVID-19 collection kits.