Why Does Springmont Ask for PCR Tests?
The goal of all Springmont health & safety measures is to keep the virus from spreading within our school community and to keep students safely learning in-person, on campus. Because the Atlanta metro-area is currently experiencing a high level of community spread of the highly contagious Delta variant and the majority of our students (children under 12) are not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, Springmont is asking those with symptoms or possible exposure to obtain negative PCR tests (rather than antigen tests), regardless of vaccination status, before returning to campus.
Antigen (or rapid) tests are quicker but less sensitive than PCR tests and tend to perform better when people are symptomatic and carrying a high viral load. For this reason, antigen tests should not be used to test for COVID-19 after exposure as asymptomatic people may still be contagious to others. Additionally, antigen tests are more likely to give false negative results when people are pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic which is often the case with children. Therefore, we have asked parents to obtain PCR results as they are known to be more reliable for asymptomatic cases and equally reliable for symptomatic ones.