Test to Stay Program Frequently Asked Questions

  • The following is subject to change based on updates to public health guidance

    What is the Test to Stay Program?
    Per the Illinois Department of Public Health - Test to Stay Strategy, as has been documented by CDC, if schools test unvaccinated close contacts on days 1, 3, 5 and 7 from date of exposure by a PCR or rapid antigen or molecular emergency use authorization (EUA) approved test, unvaccinated close contacts are permitted to remain in the classroom as long as the results are negative.

    Is there a fee to participate in the testing program?
    No, participation in the testing program is free of charge.

    If testing is free, why does the permission form ask for insurance information?
    The clinic will either bill insurance or the government for the cost of the test. There is absolutely no out of pocket cost to an individual (no co-pay and no impact to one's deductible).

    Is participation in the Test to Stay program mandatory?
    No, participation in the Test to Stay program is optional and requires parent/guardian approval. If eligible, the building program supervisor will share a permission form to participate in the program.

    How do I enroll my student in the program?
    Each building will provide a permission form link only when your student has been identified as a close contact. This form must be completed in order for your student to participate in the program.

    What if my student was COVID positive within the last 90 days?
    According to public health guidance, individuals who have tested positive in the last 90 days are exempt from quarantine.

    What if I choose not to participate in the program?
    Unvaccinated close contacts will be required to quarantine for either 7 days (with a negative test collected on day 6 or after) or 10 days if testing was not completed.

    Can a student utilize the program for a symptomatic or diagnostic test?
    No, at this time the Test to Stay program will only be implemented for identified unvaccinated close contacts.

    Who is providing the tests?
    The District has partnered with Northshore Clinical Labs to provide PCR COVID-19 tests and lab services.

    How will students be tested?
    Northshore Clinical Labs is providing a PCR cheek or nasal swab test. The students will self swab and drop their tests in a receptacle under the supervision of a District employee. The specimen will be collected by a Northshore Clinical Labs employee and transported to the lab for processing.

    How will I know the results of my student’s test?
    All results are sent to the email address provided by the parent/guardian through the registration form. The results are also available via a secure clinical web-based portal, created by Northshore Clinical Labs, within 24 hours and reported directly to state/local authorities. The District’s certified health professionals and select administrators will have access to the portal. The building health staff or administration will contact the parent/guardian if a student receives a positive test result.

    When will results be available?
    Results will be available within 24 hours.

    What if one of the designated testing days falls on a weekend or holiday?
    Students enrolled in the program will test the next available school day if one or more of the designated testing days falls on a weekend or holiday.

    What if a student misses a test?
    Students who miss a test will be removed from the program and required to quarantine for the remainder of the identified time period.

    Does the Test to Stay Program require both individuals to be properly masked to participate?
    Yes, Test to Stay is only applicable when both the COVID-19 confirmed case and unvaccinated close contact were engaged in consistent and correct use of well-fitting masks.

    Are exposures in the lunchroom or cafeteria eligible for Test to Stay?
    Identified lunch exposures are not eligible for Test to Stay due to inconsistent mask use while eating.

    Are household contacts eligible for the Test to Stay?
    No, per local health department guidance, unvaccinated household close contacts must complete the quarantine and are not eligible for Test to Stay.

    If I do not sign my student up for Test to Stay, can I take them to a public testing site or a doctor for the Test to Stay program?
    Per local health guidance - testing must be conducted in school and, preferably, should be performed at the start of the school day before entering the classroom.

    How are the testing days determined for the Test to Stay program?
    Day 0 is the date of your student’s last exposure to the positive case, the day after is Day 1.

    What if my student is identified as a close contact and is notified days after the exposure date (example - notified on day 4)?
    Testing will be adjusted accordingly and students will have to test for the remaining days (days 5 and 7 in this scenario).

    Download Test to Stay FAQ