Tests that provide quick results aren’t as accurate and give a false positive about 50 percent of the time, Vergales said.
“All other layered attenuation schools are considerably more important than the test, because the test is [like finding]a needle in the haystack, ”he says. “But you’re mentally better off just assuming that every child that walks through that door has COVID because you’re going to double down on mitigation strategies to reduce the likelihood of spread. “
Testing programs are most effective and achievable when officials attempt to create a COVID-free bubble, similar to strategies used for in-person lessons by Blue Ridge School, a private boarding school, Vergales said. However, for schools where students and staff leave school every day and return to the community, a bubble is not possible.
“The only ones that have really succeeded are the smaller ones who have spent a lot of money bringing in companies to help them do their own testing,” he said.
He added that randomized testing is a more effective tool when the prevalence of the disease in the community is around 3% to 5%.
“Think about this number; that’s a really high number, ”he said. “This means that from any child you test in Albemarle County, you would expect 5% of them to come back positive. Even with what is happening in the Blue Ridge Health District right now with our rates, you’re not even at a fraction of that right now.