Note: Recipient-submitted material; content authored by recipient, not ELC
Information current as of October 6, 2021
Management structure for school screening
The Department of Health and Social Services (DPHSS) has established rapport with all participating school districts on the island and continues to engage closely with school representatives regarding their Screening Testing Program needs. DPHSS will provide administrative support to the school districts, including onboarding personnel; procuring testing resources; providing training for COVID-19 testing platforms; and N95 Respiratory Fit Testing. Prior to training testing personnel, schools are requested to apply for Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment waivers through the Guam Public Health Laboratory (GPHL) with the DPHSS. This assures that each entity is covered under GPHL’s testing standards. Additional coordination is provided to support the reporting of all results to the DPHSS’ Surveillance Branch via a line list or reporting through the Simple Report database. Additional support staff will be hired to assist schools in the management and implementation of this screening testing program. DPHSS leadership also meets frequently with educational administrators to address mitigation strategies overall to reopen schools safely for face-to-face learning. Furthermore, DPHSS plans to contract a vendor to also conduct pooled testing across the school districts with identified cohorts throughout the school year.
Support provided to school districts
DPHSS provides guidance on individuals who are suspected or confirmed for having COVID-19, which includes addressing sick individuals, testing for COVID-19, criteria on who should get tested, and the duration of isolation and quarantine. In addition, DPHSS provides guidance to K-12 schools in preventing and controlling COVID-19 by adhering to mitigation strategies. These mitigation strategies include but are not limited to universal and correct use of masks; physical distancing; cleaning and disinfection; ventilation; handwashing and respiratory etiquette; promotion of vaccinations; and a screening testing program. The DPHSS Surveillance Branch collects data that reflect community transmission levels. DPHSS leadership utilizes the data provided for actionable policy and decision-making. DPHSS continues to provide guidance for reopening schools safely for in-person instruction. In addition, DPHSS reviews individualized school mitigation plans and protocols.
DPHSS coordinates training of school representatives to administer Binax NOW Antigen and Abbott ID NOW tests to students and staff. The method of collection utilizing nasal swabs are preferred due to it being less invasive. Each school has developed their own testing criteria such as testing symptomatic individuals, recent travelers, individuals returning from sick leave, or those who participate in sports activities, etc.