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Supervised self-collected SARS-CoV-2 testing in indoor summer camps to inform school reopening

By Peter Cooch, Annalisa Watson, Apryl Olarte, Emily Crawford, CLIAhub Consortium, Joe DeRisi, Bryan M Greenhouse, Jill Hakim, Keirstinne Turcios, Lee Atkinson-McEvoy, Raphael Hirsch, Roberta L Keller, Theodore Ruel, Auritte Cohen-Ross, Araceli Leon, Naomi Bardach

Posted 23 Oct 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.10.21.20214338

Background and ObjectivesTesting strategies for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in school settings are needed to assess the efficacy of infection mitigation strategies and inform school reopening policies. We hypothesized that supervised serial self-collected non-nasopharyngeal testing in summer camp settings would be acceptable and feasible. MethodsWe performed a cohort study at two urban day camps for kindergarten-8th graders in June and July 2020. Eligible participants were campers, up to two adult household contacts, and camp staff. We assessed participation rates for providing, at two time points, supervised, self-collected anterior nares samples for reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and saliva samples for antibody testing. We qualitatively assessed testing feasibility and adherence to stated camp infection mitigation strategies. Results76% (186/246) of eligible participants consented. The cohort completing both rounds of testing (n=163) comprised 67 campers, 76 household contacts, and 20 staff. Among those present, 100% of campers and staff completed test collection at both time points. Testing was feasible to implement, including staff participation supervising camper test collection. No virus was detected by RT-PCR; seven participants had antibodies. Observed adherence to stated camp mitigation policies for masking, physical distancing, and stable cohorting was generally high. ConclusionsSupervised, self-collected serial anterior nasal and saliva-based SARS-CoV-2 testing was acceptable, with successful repeated participation by children ages 5-14. This strategy for testing and the observed infection mitigation practices comprise potential core components for safe school reopening.

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