Dear Weston Schools Community,
Thank you to everyone who has already registered their student(s) for their weekly COVID-19 testing. If you have not already signed each of your students up for weekly screenings, please follow these directions to sign them up today. As a reminder student tests will be provided in school free of charge.
We had expected that the state-sponsored COVID-19 testing program, run through the platform CIC Health, would launch this week. We originally opted for the state’s CIC-run testing platform because it was a state-sponsored and subsidized choice that included both pooled testing and individual rapid tests. We continue to believe that community health screenings (pooled tests) combined with a rapid result option and test-to-stay system is the best approach for keeping students safe in school all year. While some districts are only operating a test-to-stay system, we prefer a more comprehensive approach, and will continue to offer testing for all.
Unfortunately, due to several layers of failures by CIC, the state-sponsored CIC-run testing program has not yet been rolled out. The website is inactive or not working correctly, and CIC administrators have been unresponsive, despite our many requests for urgent support. The coordinator assigned by CIC to Weston abruptly resigned the day they were supposed to launch us, after refusing to report in.
This is disappointing for all of us. On behalf of the school district administration, I would like to apologize that this state-level system is not already in place, as is the case across many other districts in Massachusetts. We wish we could speed things up and begin pooled COVID testing, but our nurses still do not have access to the web portal, and we can begin pooled testing for students only when the CIC portal is up and running.
The good news is that we had anticipated possible challenges with the state testing program rollout, and our school nurses worked with our testing provider from last year, Project Beacon, to prepare a strong backup plan to begin testing this week. Our health services Director, Jamy Gaynor, stepped up to train state-provided support staff in the Project Beacon platform, overseeing hundreds of individual tests across all five schools this week. We are lucky to have such an outstanding school nursing team, who had the foresight to plan ahead and secure thousands of backup tests via Project Beacon, and the skill to implement contingency plans on very short notice. Everyone who registered had the opportunity to be tested this week.
We will continue to conduct individual PCR testing with Project Beacon until the state’s CIC program is up and running in Weston. We are cautiously optimistic that the CIC testing platform will be ready to go by the end of next week, and are taking all the steps necessary to hit the ground running, including training new state-provided support staff. Again, if you have not already done so, please take a few minutes to register each of your students for testing.
Thank you again for your patience and understanding as we work to keep students safely in school.
Dr. Midge Connolly
Superintendent, Weston Public Schools