One of the big questions regarding an ambitious quick turnaround COVID-19 testing program for Wellesley Public Schools students and staff has been where the money would come from. The nonprofit Wellesley Education Foundation is looking to do its part by ramping up a fundraising campaign in which it seeks to raise between $1.5M and $3.5M for the Safer Teachers, Safer Students: Back to School Testing Program.
WEF is kicking things off by donating $250,000.
As discussion over the plan has taken place in recent weeks at public School Committee, Board of Selectmen and Board of Health meetings, as well as behind closed doors, word has been that members of the school community have voiced a willingness to help fund this effort (see also: Wellesley school and health departments becoming inseparable as reopening nears). A Wellesley Education Foundation survey of the public school community also found that of 5o0-plus respondents, more than 92% expressed a willingness to contribute what would be a total of more than $750,000.
Of course this will test the bank accounts of those who have already been asked to donate to so many other causes during the pandemic, including the town’s general COVID-19 Relief Fund.
The 3-month pilot, which would need to begin before school starts in mid-September, would involve testing both symptomatic (highest priority, to help exclude those who just have the sniffles and not COVID-19) and asymptomatic public school students, faculty and staff. Wellesley is coordinating with a handful of other communities on this, too, to take advantage of economies of scale and to learn from each other.
The testing pilot has been spearheaded by a group of medical and scientific professionals who live in Wellesley and have or have had kids in the public school system, and it is supported by Supt. David Lussier, among other town and school leaders. The Wellesley School Committee this past week approved allowing the School Department to issue a request for proposal for a partner to operate such a program.
A huge part of the program is getting testing results within 24 hours, something that could make a big difference between the schools being able to carry on or lock down if required to wait around for results.
What’s more, the program would support the notion of universal access to testing, regardless of financial means.
WEF states: “It is our belief that Wellesley bears a civic responsibility to lead the charge in raising the funds needed to pioneer such a program in our community, and to further advocate for funding to deliver equivalent programs in some of the hardest hit communities. Thus, in addition to WEF’s efforts to raise funds within Wellesley, members of the testing coalition are actively seeking private and public funds to ensure that Chelsea and Revere are provided the financial support needed to implement testing programs in their respective communities.”
There is so much corruption associated with COVID testing and findings . How can WEF say with any plausibility it is the civic duty of Wellesley citizens to fund other town’s Covid testing especially when test results aren’t reliable and extremely costly? Costs for testing range from $100. to $200 a single test. Widespread Covid testing is considered reckless spending and unnessary. Labs lose the samples which prompts retesting and their own documentation explains the lack of validity in test findings which produce a high percentage of false positives. Within the schools, you are testing a majority population that has minuscule numbers in relation to critical health risks. Wellesley Tesidents do not have a civic duty to waste their hard earned money.
S. Little says
Testing is important. If there is a covid outbreak in the school-age population, it will likely be asymptomatic. Without frequent testing, it will silently move into the community and only become apparent when parents and families get sick. At that point it will be widespread.
Wellesley Residents do not have a civic duty to pay for other town’s Covid testing. If you are supporting that Wellesley Residents have a moral obligation to pay for other town’s Covid tests I would reasonably argue that point as well. Test results are not reliable according to documentation supplied by the companies providing the tests. Positive Sputum findings need to be backed up by nasal confirmations. That’s $300.00 right there for one individual for one moment in time. As soon as the test is over and the individual goes on his or her merry way the result is no longer reliable if negative.
Re:Covid testing in the schools: I look forward to having a public dialogue with you via the Swellesley Report Forum. I am a 61 year old essential worker in a Skilled Nursing Facility that worked with and without Ppe provided throughout the Covid scare. I know exactly when the state of Massachusetts corrupted the Covid positive numbers by adding possible data and I know how other positive findings have been corrupted to support higher numbers. I also know the ill effects of isolation from family and friends . School children’s health will suffer from isolation and constant mask wearing.
Just curious if you worked from home during the outbreak? Did you Zoom your work input?
Check out the investigation of Orig3n before you decide to pay for widespread COVID testing and affect so many people’s livelihoods.