Within the next month, Massachusetts schools will begin a new weekly pool testing program to screen students and staff for COVID-19, according to Governor Baker on Friday.

From a story reported on by WWLP/22 News, the state is hopeful their new COVID-19 pool testing program will bring more students back into classrooms.

Governor Charlie Baker said, "Pool testing will provide additional safeguards to stop the spread and give students, parents, teachers and staff confidence that it is safe to be in schools."

How testing works is test swabs will go to a lab in a single tube and then be tested together in one batch.

If a pooled result is negative, every individual in that pool is presumed negative, but if it’s positive the individuals in that batch will be re-tested using rapid tests. Positive individuals and their close contacts will then be isolated and quarantined.

Schools who are doing in-person or hybrid learning will be prioritized to get the pool testing kits, but they will be available to school systems that are doing remote-learning but are looking to get students back into the classroom.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will initially cover the estimated 15 to 30 million dollar program. According to the state, the pool program costs at least 75% less than the cost of an individual test. After the start-up period, schools can use their federal stimulus money to continue testing.

For more on the story, please visit WWLP/22 News' website here and we thank them for the update.

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