Frequently asked questions about COVID-19 surveillance testing

There have been a number of questions and concerns related to the Fayetteville-Manlius School District’s partnership with Onondaga County that provides for weekly COVID-19 surveillance testing of both students and staff. 

As a follow up to Superintendent Craig J. Tice’s Sept. 14 letter to families and staff about the testing, the district has compiled some frequently asked questions that have been submitted to the district. 

Should families use the online link from Quadrant Biosciences to provide consent for the surveillance testing?

Families should use the new online registration link from Quadrant Biosciences to enroll their children and provide consent to Onondaga County for testing. Families do NOT have to complete the insurance information before submitting the form to Quadrant Biosciences.  

What if I already completed the paper version of the consent form?

If you completed the paper version of the consent form, you will still need to register and give consent online. For those families without access to a computer or the internet, contact Sarah Gridley at the F-M District Office at 315-692-1200.

Why is pooled saliva testing being conducted?

Sample pooling allows for more people to be tested quickly using fewer testing resources, rather than testing each individual sample. Pooling will allow for greater numbers of students and staff to be quickly tested. Each pool will include 12 samples. Individual sampling for a study of this magnitude is not possible at this time. 

What is the turnaround time for pooled test results?

The turnaround time for the initial pooled test is approximately 24 hours. Should a pool test positive, Quadrant Biosciences, which is conducting the testing, will use the swabs from the initial pool testing to perform individual tests, called reflex testing. Individuals do not need to conduct a second swab for reflex testing. 

What is the turnaround time for reflex test results?

Reflex test results should be made available within 12 hours. Quadrant Biosciences will be processing and reporting tests over the weekend. With Fayetteville-Manlius having its testing on Fridays, Quadrant should be reporting results during the weekend and at the latest by Monday if reflex testing is warranted.

Will pool testing cause unnecessary quarantines? 

One of the disadvantages of the surveillance testing is that students and staff may be subject to a temporary quarantine while the reflex testing is performed. By scheduling our testing on a Friday, it is our hope that all of the results would be returned before the start of school on Monday. However, there may be an instance where students and staff would need to stay home while the reflex testing is being completed.

Is there a cost associated with the testing? Is it covered by insurance?

Updated 9-17-21

It is our understanding that the cost for the surveillance testing in schools is being underwritten by the Onondaga County Health Department using funds from a federal grant. Quadrant Biosciences is collecting insurance information at the time of registration so it can bill the insurance carrier if reflex testing is needed. However, there is no cost to parents or guardians for this billing as Quadrant will not send any residual bills to parents. Any cost not covered by insurance will be covered through the county grant.  

Will the district be informed of the number of people who register online?

Yes, the school district will have access to the registrant list in order to collaborate with Quadrant Biosciences with respect to the random sampling procedure. Every effort will be made to sample different students each week, but that depends upon the number of families who authorize consent. If for some reason a family decides to withdraw their consent in the future, they should notify the school district so that their children are removed from the sampling roster.