Since Gloucester schools began testing students and staff for the novel coronavirus, all results from the state-supported tests have come back negative.
"No positive results so far in testing about 260 people so far," Superintendent Ben Lummis said Wednesday night at School Committee meeting.
Gloucester High and O'Maley Innovation Middle schools began a testing pilot program supported by the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education on Monday, Feb. 22.
At Gloucester High, 115 people were tested with eight negative pools and five inconclusive pools that were retested on Wednesday. At O'Maley 144 people and all 25 pools tested negative.
While the pooled testing has found no cases of the virus, the school district has seen an uptick in overall cases.
Lummis said that there are 11 active cases of COVID-19 within Gloucester's school district, nine of which are new since February break. One case is at O'Maley, two are at East Gloucester Elementary School, and there are four at both West Parish Elementary and Gloucester High.
The new, optional testing is part of Gloucester schools' overall objective to "safely educate as many students as possible in in-person school settings, to maximize learning, address our students' full needs, and support community and family needs," Lummis said Wednesday night. The schools are following a hybrid schedule, with some days of virtual learning and others in person.
In addition to the collaboration with Beauport Ambulance to conduct the testing, the school district has hired two staff members to support administration, testing, communication, and follow-up testing.
Gloucester schools will extend the testing program an additional three weeks to April 18, due to DESE support.
Staff and students can sign up every week by going to https://backtogether.gloucesterschools.com/faqs/pool-testing-faqs.
"We want as many staff and students at GHS and O'Maley to participate in the group testing," Lummis said.
The district will host a webinar for middle and high school families on Tuesday, March 2, at 6:30 p.m. to provide more information and answer questions about testing. The link will be uploaded to the school's group testing website, listed above.
Rockport schools are participating in the pilot program, too. Elementary and middle school students and staff began to be tested before February break and high schoolers began testing this past Monday. Results allowed Rockport to transition from virtual classes to a hybrid model on Wednesday.