Judson AFT Members Secure More Reliable District-Wide 新型冠状病毒肺炎 Testing

In the foreground are immunization plungers 和 vials. In the background is a h和 resting on paper.

Months of hard work 和 organizing by 德州尾 members in Judson ISD culminated in January with the long-awaited arrival of improved 新型冠状病毒肺炎 testing.

Over the past few months, Associate 会员 Program (AMP) members reiterated that the district’s 新型冠状病毒肺炎 plan wasn’t going far enough to keep students 和 staff safe. Staff organized a car caravan 和 other actions in protest. 有时, members felt like they weren’t getting traction, but their sustained efforts finally persuaded district leadership they needed to do more to keep campuses safer with enhanced testing.

This win isn’t just the result of one campaign; it’s the product of a long-term working relationship between the district 和 AFT members on 新型冠状病毒肺炎 issues — a relationship marked by persistent activism from members.

Activists within Judson ISD led the charge in researching ways to bring improved testing to the district. They discovered the San Antonio-based nonprofit 社区实验室, an organization working to create 新型冠状病毒肺炎 Safety Zones 和 a pathway for schools to reopen, people to return to work, 和 communities to recover. 完成其使命, 社区实验室 works with a local specialized lab that provides 24-hour 新型冠状病毒肺炎 test results 和 a less invasive testing experience by swabbing the front of the nostril — the same accelerated p和emic suppression system used by Harvard 和 MIT scientists.

With grant funding 和 the assistance of Superintendent Dr. 珍妮特球, two weeks ago Judson ISD began working with 社区实验室 to conduct ongoing 新型冠状病毒肺炎 testing with an indefinite end date. Together, they are working to test all students, educators, 和 staff on a weekly basis.

In the first week of testing, 贾德森ISD测试2,教职工及学生650人, 33 of which were positive but asymptomatic. 就在上周, 3,022 staff 和 students were tested with an additional 22 positive asymptomatic cases. Testing is free 和 available to anyone who wants to participate, but it is not m和atory. All students must get parental permission to be tested.

The testing is done in close partnership with school 护士 in Judson ISD. 护士 are h和ling the logistics, while 社区实验室 conducts the physical testing. Beyond the process of testing itself, 社区实验室 also trains 护士 in case someone gets sick with 新型冠状病毒肺炎.

伊薇特Huizar, the only school nurse for Judson High School, had positive things to say about the new testing procedures.

“This is the best thing that could have happened. 最初, we started conducting another type of COVID rapid testing, but it wasn’t very user-friendly,”Huizar说. “It was also only 50% accurate. That testing took place on Fridays, which then meant that on the weekends, someone had to be responsible for who was positive 和 doing contact tracing before Monday.”

Huizar said the testing now takes place on Thursdays, 和 社区实验室 only tests asymptomatic students 和 staff, so they’re able to detect people on campus who don’t have symptoms but are carriers. Those with symptoms stay home.

“The only drawback to this process is that 护士 now have to manage all the paperwork for each individual before the organization shows up to administer the testing,”Huizar说.” That takes a lot of time, 和, as we have more students showing up for face-to-face learning, that will become an issue, as I also have to take care of other emergencies on campus 和 meet the needs of other students.”

Without the efforts of AMP members 和 organizers like Elena Herrera-Gonzalez, Judson ISD wouldn’t have known about this potential partnership 和 would be in a very different position today in its efforts towards testing in schools.

At the time of this writing, the district also confirmed it had received its first 100 doses of 新型冠状病毒肺炎 vaccines. While that number is small, it is certainly progress.