Ardenne High launches comprehensive COVID testing | Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News | Loop News

With the official confirmation of a fifth wave of COVID 19 infections in Jamaica, Ardenne High School in St Andrew has moved to complete the school year with minimal dislocation by assessing its risks through timely information.

On Wednesday, May 18, Ardenne initiated a programme of testing for the entire school community. The initiative was executed in partnership with Technological Solutions Limited (TSL) under the leadership of Ardenne alumnus, Dr Andre Gordon, Founder and CEO of TSL.

According to Gordon, the measure is an extension of an ongoing relationship.

“Earlier this year we provided science scholarships to four schools, including Ardenne. In following up with the school about the progress of the students, it became immediately apparent that in the middle of this fifth wave (of the COVID-19 virus), the school community was going to be challenged with keeping the school open and continuing their programmes,” said Gordon.

Ardenne’s Principal, Nadine Molloy, said after an initial conversation with TSL, the school made the arrangements within an hour.

“COVID has reinforced the need for us to pay more attention to the risks we have to take. When we heard that there were suspected COVID cases in the student population, with flu like symptoms, we had to help our community to ascertain the facts rapidly,” said Molloy.

She said it was necessary to move aggressively to avoid any additional disruption in the learning process.

“Having had discussions yesterday (Tuesday), we’re in here today because the number of cases are rising (nationally), some schools have closed down. We don’t want Ardenne to have to close down or to go back to primarily being online, particularly not at a time when students are preparing for exams and looking to complete the school year,” added Molloy.

Some 74 tests were completed on day one, with the programme expected to be accelerated towards the end of the school week.

Gordon expressed satisfaction with the progress so far, noting that TSL opted to administer what he labelled as the best available testing system.

“We decided to offer to the school free of charge, the gold standard PCR test for all students. The PCR test is the most accurate test for COVID-19, and the bioM?rieux-based technology we use at TSL is among the most advanced globally, detecting down to one1 viral particle per microlite,” he said.

In addition to its sponsorship of the tests for the core school community, TSL has created a programme of access to testing by parents and guardians at a reduced cost.

“We wanted to support the wider school community as well. COVID knows no boundaries, so the efforts must consider immediate family members of the students, teachers and support staff,” said Gordon.

In expressing appreciation for the initiative, Molloy cited the value of active social partnerships in the delivery of critical public goods and services, such as quality education.