Rochelle schools begin COVID-19 student testing program

Districts hope free, optional program will reduce student absences


ROCHELLE — Both Rochelle school districts began offering an onsite COVID-19 testing program for students on Monday.

The free program allows any student that may be symptomatic for COVID-19 to be tested quickly and efficiently in Rochelle.

“We hope that this will not only decrease student absences, but also help us all take another step towards normalcy in the school year,” a press release from Superintendent Jason Harper said.

The testing site will is located at May School. The districts plan on testing Monday through Friday from 8:30-11:30 a.m. as long as they have the resources to run the program. Hours could change based upon resource availability and changes in testing hours will be posted on the districts’ Facebook pages,

The program is optional and parental written consent is required. Consent forms are available online and at the testing site. 

The school districts will be using the BinaxNOW COVID-19 antigen test. The rapid test is a nasal swab that is inserted roughly one centimeter into the nose. Test results will be texted to you from Simple Report. In many instances, test results within 30-45 minutes. 

If you receive an inconclusive test result, you will need to return to the testing site and have your child retested. Positive test results will be sent to the Ogle County Health Department. All test results will be reported to the state.

Once a child has received a negative COVID-19 test and they are symptom-free for 24 full hours without medication, they can return to school. If your child is still symptomatic after 3 days, please consult your child’s physician. 

Siblings that have no symptoms can remain in school as long as your symptomatic child is tested the same day. Siblings cannot return to school the following day without your symptomatic students' negative test results. 

The Illinois Department of Public Health recognizes the following as symptoms of COVID-19:

fever, new onset of moderate to severe headache, shortness of breath, new cough, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, new loss of sense of taste of smell, fatigue from unknown cause and muscle or body aches from unknown cause.

The state is allowing school districts to participate in the Test to Stay program. Following an indoor exposure, with the exception of a household exposure, if schools test close contacts on days one, three, five and seven from date of exposure, your child can remain in the classroom as long as they test negative.

If your child is a household exposure to someone that has tested positive for COVID-19, they cannot be tested at the testing site. The OCHD will contact you with testing and quarantine options. 

The districts’ press release noted that it is possible for someone to develop COVID-19 following negative testing. Most individuals will develop COVID-19 between days 3-5 following an exposure. However, people have the potential to test positive up to 10-14 days after an exposure.