Supervised Self-Collected SARS-Cov-2 Testing in Classroom-Based Summer Camps to Inform Safe In-Person Learning

Author(s): Peter B Cooch, Annalisa Watson, Apryl Olarte, Emily D Crawford, Joseph L DeRisi, Bryan Greenhouse, Jill Hakim, Keirstinne Turcios, Katherine S Pollard, Lee R Atkinson-McEvoy, Raphael Hirsch, Robert

Objectives: To evaluate the acceptability and feasibility of serial, self-collected non-nasopharyngeal samples for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) testing in school-like settings, and describe adherence to infection mitigation strategies.

Methods: We performed a cohort study in classroom-based day camps during summer 2020 in San Francisco, California. We assessed participation rates at two time points among campers, adult household contacts, and camp staff for self-collecting anterior nares samples for reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and saliva samples for antibody testing. We qualitatively assessed sampling feasibility and observed adherence to camp infection mitigation policies.

Results: 76% (186/246) of eligible participants consented; all consented campers and staff present at both time points completed test collection. No virus was detected by RT-PCR; seven participants had antibodies. Testing was feasible to implement, and adherence to stated camp policies was generally high.

Conclusions: Supervised, self-collected serial anterior nasal and saliva-based SARS-CoV-2 testing was acceptable and feasible in school-like setting, including by children ages 5-14. This strategy for testing, and the observed infection mitigation practices, comprise potential components permitting safe in-person learning.

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