Rochester CUSD #3a is excited to announce our new partnership with the University of Illinois to assist with safely returning to in-person learning full time for the 2021-2022 school year. SHIELD utilizes saliva-based RT-PCR tests that are easy to administer, highly accurate with results available in 24 hours or less, and are free to all District students, faculty, and staff. 

How is screening with SHIELD beneficial? 

SHIELD screening takes a proactive approach to quickly isolate individuals who test positive for COVID-19  in order to reduce the virus spread resulting in a lower number of individuals who need to quarantine. Frequent widespread screening allows the schools to identify infected individuals before they show symptoms or are able to transmit the virus to others. SHIELD testing is classified by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) as an in vitro diagnostic test for use in screening and surveillance testing. SHIELD screening has shown to be highly accurate in detecting the presence of COVID-19 through clinical studies showing a sensitivity of 96% and a specificity of 99%. 

Why screen now that vaccines are available? 

Vaccination remains one of the best layered mitigation strategies against the spread of COVID-19 and is recommended but no vaccine is 100% effective and herd immunity isn’t likely to happen in 2021.  Also, vaccinations are not accessible to everyone and are not yet available to children under the age of 12 who make up a large part of our school population. 

What will SHIELD screening look like in our schools? 

Participation in SHIELD screening is voluntary and open to all Rochester CUSD #3a faculty, staff, and students. Screening will take place two times per week on a schedule to be determined by each individual school. Saliva samples are the method of collection. Total screening time takes each participant approximately 3-5 minutes to provide a sample. Families will be contacted the following morning with any positive results and families will have access to a portal to view their own results. To see a video of what screening may look like in school click here. 

Can SHIELD screening reduce the time in quarantine or reduce quarantine all together? 

Yes! Schools participating in SHIELD may use a definition for classroom close contacts as those who come within 3 feet or less of a COVID-19 case for a cumulative time of 15 minutes or more within a 24-hour period. Combined with other mitigation measures such as masking, SHIELD screening may reduce quarantine for close contacts through the District’s test to stay protocol. 

How can students and employees sign up for SHIELD screening? 

Signing up to participate in SHIELD screening is quick and easy. Click on the link here to consent to participate in SHIELD screening today! 

To learn more about if SHIELD screening is right for you or your child see the COVID-19 Screening Testing to Safely Reopen in 2021 and the Key Facts About the COVID-19 SHIELD Tests documents on the District website.