With the holiday season behind us — and a new year ahead — local school administrators are approaching students’ return to campus with an abundance of caution, especially as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to surge across the community.
Rivermont Collegiate in Bettendorf launched its “Test-to-Stay” program this week as students prepare for the new academic year. The program mandates all students and faculty members test negative for COVID-19 upon setting foot on campus.
Financed by the school and select donors, the testing program strives to ensure no individual capable of transmitting any form of the virus enters the school.
C. Max Roach, the school’s headmaster, emphasized the importance of being proactive when it comes to the pandemic response. He explained last year the school took COVID-19 protocol seriously, and how doing so helped keep students learning in class with their peers.
“We were in person face-to-face all year long and we didn’t have any — not a single on-campus COVID transmission.” Roach said. “We don’t require masks, but we do expect people to wear them. Testing just seemed like a natural addition to what we were already doing.”
Roach said Rivermont Collegiate promotes adhering to scientific study — listening to doctors, public health officials — when it comes to responding to health crises.
Administration will enforce another round of school-wide testing Friday. Remaining tests will be conducted as needed and reserved for the next “high-risk” exodus and subsequent return on-campus to safeguard students from any potential risk of bringing the virus to their peers.