Every Tuesday and Friday after school, students line up outside the M-A PAC waiting to get COVID-19 PCR tests. Getting tested at M-A is very convenient and only takes about five minutes when there isn’t a long line.

Sophomore Andrew Bernardicou said, “The process is very simple and fast.” He said, “I got a PCR test at M-A because my parents like having the peace of mind that I don’t have COVID-19.”

Worksite Labs offers free PCR tests at eight district schools near M-A and returns results within 24 hours. Testing rotates between different sites on weekdays from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM, and there are at least two sites available daily. Students can get tested at M-A on Tuesday and Friday. You can find more information about other testing sites on the Worksite Labs website.

Although the website states otherwise, you can also make an appointment to get tested before school. Since there aren’t many other students there, you can get tested right away and don’t have to wait in a long line like you would after school.

Unfortunately, no sites offer testing over the weekend, so anyone who has symptoms or a COVID-19 exposure has to wait until Monday if they want to get tested at one of these sites and until Tuesday if they want to get tested at M-A. However, there are many other free testing sites throughout the county.

Sophomore Aaralyn Prasad who has had three PCR tests said, “I was nervous to get tested at first, but then I realized all you had to do was collect a sample on the nose swab, so it wasn’t that bad.”

PCR tests detect the virus with 98-99% accuracy because they are able to create millions of copies of the small amount of DNA found in a sample. Antigen tests, like the ones sent home by the district, have around 85% accuracy and are less accurate at detecting COVID-19 in people who are asymptomatic.  

Still, if getting tested at school isn’t an option, or if you want to be able to take a COVID-19 test on the go, the federal government is providing four free antigen tests to each household. They can be ordered here.

Cleo Rehkopf is a junior in her second year of journalism. She enjoys writing about issues impacting the M-A community, particularly environmental issues. She is also on the M-A cross-country and track teams.


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