COVID testing information
If you are interested in a community testing event, please check the MDH website.
Why We Test
- Regular testing can help identify new COVID-19 cases early, which can help prevent spread of COVID-19 in the classroom and the community.
- Keeping COVID-19 spread under control can keep students in their classrooms.
- Testing programs in schools can help to ensure convenient and equitable access to COVID-19 tests.
- Testing supports schools in providing healthy, safe learning environments.
Screening testing vs. Symptomatic Testing
Screening testing: A screening testing program regularly tests unvaccinated students and/or school staff without symptoms or known exposures, to detect positive cases in individuals who are asymptomatic (showing no symptoms) or pre-symptomatic (not currently showing symptoms but may develop them in the future). Using tests to screen also helps protect children who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated.
Symptomatic testing: A symptomatic testing program tests students and/or school staff that are experiencing symptoms that may be related to COVID-19.
Types of Testing: PCR and Molecular vs. Antigen
PCR and other molecular amplification tests detect the virus's genetic material.
- Most accurate tests for detecting the virus that causes COVID-19.
- Given with a nasal swab, oral (throat) swab, or by taking a saliva sample.
- Used whether or not you have symptoms.
- A positive PCR or other molecular amplification test result is considered a confirmed case of COVID-19.
Antigen tests, sometimes called rapid tests, look for specific proteins on the surface of the virus.
- Produce results more quickly than other tests.
- May not be as accurate, especially for people who do not have symptoms.
- Given with a nasal swab.
- A positive antigen test result is considered a probable case of COVID-19.
- A negative antigen test result, when someone has symptoms, should be confirmed as negative by taking a molecular test.
- Even with a negative test result, someone who is experiencing symptoms should retest and should not return to school/work until symptoms have improved and the individual has been fever free for 24 hours.
PLEASE NOTE: As long as students don't have symptoms and have not been identified as a close contact to someone with COVID-19, they do not need to stay out of school, sports or activities while awaiting test results.
NRHEG school has BinaxNOW OTC At-Home tests available for students.
BinaxNOW OTC At-Home Testing: BinaxNOW OTC tests are individual rapid antigen tests that will be available to be sent home with students – one package with two kits in each package. Students can test if they are symptomatic. The tests use a nasal swab. It is a self-test recommended for children as young as 2 years old when samples are collected by an adult, and for all people 15 and older if they are collecting the sample by themselves. Results are visually displayed on the test 15 minutes after the test is performed. Even with a negative test result, a student who is experiencing symptoms should retest and should not return to school until symptoms have improved and the student has been fever free for 24 hours.