If a symptomatic student tests negative on the rapid antigen test, the nurse or health assistant will run a confirmatory PCR test. A second nasal swab will be obtained, placed in a tube with a preservative medium and sent to a lab. The confirmatory PCR test may take a few days up to one week to complete. The school will notify their parent/guardian immediately after the point of care testing is completed and the student must go home.
If the close contacts of the source student are asymptomatic and have a negative test result on the rapid antigen test, no PCR will be ordered, but they must go home and quarantine until the PCR test from the source case is processed.
In both cases, the student will receive written instructions from the school nurse or health assistant about how to create a profile in the lab portal so they can access the result from the confirmatory PCR test once completed. The confirmatory PCR test may take a few days up to one week to complete. Regardless of whether or not the parent/guardian creates a profile in the lab portal, they will be notified by the Howard County Health Department about the PCR results.