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DPS 109 Becomes One Of First K-8 Districts In State To Use SHIELD Test


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January 26, 2021

DEERFIELD, IL -- Last night, the Deerfield Public Schools District Board of Education approved a COVID-19 Testing Support Agreement with the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois for saliva-based COVID-19 screening testing for students and staff.

The testing agreement is contingent on the U of I receiving emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The university’s EUA application is currently under review by the FDA.

The exact schedule and logistics of testing will be announced in the coming weeks. District 109 will pay $20 per test plus the cost of transporting samples to a laboratory for analysis and will hire staff to help implement the program.

“As a district, we began researching testing options in July and have consistently evaluated the evolving options. SHIELD Illinois has shown to be a proven & effective tool, with extremely high sensitivity and specificity rates of detecting the virus. This additional risk mitigation moves us closer to our ultimate goal of offering full-day, in-person instruction for families that choose it,” Dr. Jane Westerhold, Co-Interim Superintendent of Schools, said.

The test, developed by scientists at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, has been used over 1.1 million times since its inception and kept positivity rates below 2% on U of I campuses during the fall semester. SHIELD Illinois uses a saliva-based test that detects three genes of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which allows it to identify pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals along with new variants. Results will be sent to the school district and the Illinois Department of Public Health through a HIPAA-secure health records portal within 24 hours of the lab receiving a sample.

“This is why our SHIELD Illinois team exists: to provide a reliable testing solution that helps schools and other organizations do what they do best,” said Ron Watkins, managing director of SHIELD Illinois. “I’m thankful for this partnership with District 109, and excited that we get to help your students and teachers get back to school safely.”

Educational resources about how the DPS 109 SHIELD testing program will work and what families should expect will be available in the coming weeks.