Nurse obtains rapid response COVID-19 tests

Kris Long, Sports Editor

Manhattan High school nurse Robin Mall was provided with Saliva Rapid Response COVID-19 Tests at the beginning of the second semester and is currently able to administer them to symptomatic MHS students. 

“I had a couple of people take them that first week and then this last week… I had more people take them,” Mall said. “I’m getting more comfortable with that process and getting the results.”

Tests will only be available to symptomatic students or staff. This is to avoid using resources on “worried well people” and because tests are more effective when an individual has had symptoms for more than 24 hours. 

“The test is more effective when the symptoms have been going on for longer than 24 hours because more virus grows in your system when there’s more virus present, it makes it easier for the test to detect the virus being present,” Mall said.

If someone has symptoms, they should stay at home and see if they persist to avoid exposing others, then call the nurses’ office and request a test. People should not come to the nurses’ office and ask to be tested. 

“If a student comes to the nurse’s office and I feel like they are ill, then I send the student home,” Mall said. “I ask the student to have symptoms for more than 24 hours before I give them the test. And then if they are home, I make arrangements for the student to come pick up the test and I give it to them out in the front loop.”

At this time, students who are quarantined due to close contact with a COVID-19 case will also not receive tests from the school unless they show symptoms for over 24 hours. This is because the student body continues to show no signs of catching COVID-19 at school. 

Students are able to administer the tests to themselves at home, then take it to a FedEx drop site (Mall has the list of locations). Results are expected within 24 to 48 hours of the test being shipped and come directly to the patient’s phone. Mall will also be notified of test results.

“You don’t have to talk to anybody, you just put it all in the container and take it to the FedEx drop site,” Mall said. “Then I can go to the website and check and see the results for the students or staff that have taken the test… all the ones that I have given so far, none of them have come back positive, and I did give them to people who had symptoms for coronavirus but they all came back negative which I’m happy for.”