New Testing’s Implications within Education

The trucks containing the new vaccine are traveling throughout the country along with the news and opinions swirling around it. There is a definite shift in the outlook of the next couple of months along with this news. This change will be far from immediate, and it is important to consider and continue to utilize the other solutions within pandemic education that scientists have offered in the meantime. A new vaccine that has not even begun pediatric testing is not a perfect, immediate solution and we are far from ridding ourselves from masks and social distancing. With the news of the vaccine in mind, along with potential implications on boarding schools, Jackie sent me an NPR article illuminating the future of testing and we immediately got to chatting on the benefits this will have the education system. The vaccine is coming hopefully soon and safely, but in the meantime, the new rapid testing may be just the tool that educational institutions need to make their way towards returning in person. Today I will be discussing the impact that these changes have on the schools and the educators within them.

These new tests that NPR reported on have rapid results that are extremely effective. This will change all of the procedures surrounding testing in institutions. Boarding schools will be aided drastically by this new form of testing; especially those who do not have as deep of pockets as other schools. This testing could cut their return to school process in half! The return to school included quarantine, social isolation, and testing for the schools that had the money and resources. These new at-home tests are said to be relatively affordable and extremely rapid and effective, which will make them much more accessible for schools that didn’t have the testing necessary to be safe in the fall. Having this ability to test quickly and accurately will change the school’s protocol and allow for a safer and more enjoyable time on campus. This past fall schools participated in an intense and time-consuming process to ensure the safety of staff and students.

The new tests may shorten and ease this lengthy process that occurred in the fall. Many schools will be able to administer these tests, when before some schools did not have resources or money to access enough testing for staff and students. Schools will be able to administer these tests within the campuses allowing for a greater grasp on the virus and its effect at the school. This type of testing will give control to many schools that lacked it in the past two semesters. It is anticipated to be available as early as this spring and I am hopeful of the impact it will have on schools, especially boarding schools and colleges.

Colleges are another group that will also benefit greatly from these new rapid tests. My college was fortunate to have the funds to be able to provide an abundance of tests for students and staff, and with these new tests, this will be possible for every college across the country. This will give all schools a better chance of having the in-person classes that their students desire and deserve. Boarding schools and colleges can certainly be hotspots for disease and the ability to have effective results promptly will allow greater knowledge and control over the virus within the school.

While the future of this young vaccine is not certain, these tests provide an important fallback and allow for greater control of people and student’s health. These rapid tests will be beneficial for everyone, but the impact on the education system will be immediate. Boarding schools and colleges will be able to return and, hopefully, remain on campus for the remainder of the school year with the new tests. The pandemic is not solved with the wave of a wand, but these tests are going to be a huge part of the solution leading up to our hopeful return to normalcy. Making way towards normalcy it is important to utilize the tools and strategies given to us by those who know best; the new rapid tests, staying masked and social distancing are all key parts to the elusive solution the country desires. Providing the tests to places like schools will be an important first step in controlling the pandemic and allowing students to return to the education they deserve. This has been an undeniably difficult year for most people across the world, and it is extremely heartening to have this small piece of good news that will have a widespread positive impact, especially on our education system.

Thank you for reading and please leave any thoughts below!

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