Saliva testing makes way into three Omaha schools


Ranae Duncan

Completing a mandatory corona virus test on Nov. 10, English teacher Dena Wagner eagerly awaits results. Weekly COVID tests for teachers became mandatory. Students can opt into the program if they choose.

Makenna Smith, Reporter

Covid-19 cases have been increasingly going up since August and with the colder weather approaching, with around 8,700 cases and around 700 deaths in Nebraska a new weekly saliva covid test is now offered as the school’s response to the rising numbers.

While the test is mandatory to be taken by staff members, only students who sign up will also receive a test. Instead of the basic nasal swab test, Bryan will use a saliva test to avoid any discomfort and try to get more people, who may be against the nasal test, to be tested. The test requires people to spit into a glass straw and it goes down to a test tube. If tested positive One World is notified and will send people their results.

“It is worlds better than the nasal test that was administrated before, the new test is much more simple and less invasive” Gym teacher Brianne Berg said, “I am very grateful that our school has the opportunity of receiving the new testing.”

Since November cases have shot up from around 900 cases to around 1,500 cases in Nebraska. Cases have been seeming to grow with the colder weather that is coming in and the change of the season. As it continues to get colder it is predicted that the cases will continue to raise, along with the predicted second wave of the virus up ahead.

“I do feel safer with these tests because they are more readily available then the previous tests and will be done on a regular basis unlike before,” Berg said.

Most of the time covid signs take around two weeks to show up, meaning a student or staff could come into school without even knowing they have it and be a spreader. Along with some A-symptomatic people who won’t feel sick but will still be able to spread the virus to others the test can figure out who that is and let them know so they take the proper actions

“I also definitely feel the test will make Bryan safer, it is so hard to predict which symptoms different adults and students will exhibit when they have covid,” English teacher Christine Thye said. “This will take guessing out of the equation.”

Nebraska medical center, Nebraska medicine and One world all offer saliva testing, and this option has just opened up to three schools in the Omaha district. Mars middle school, Norris middle school and Bryan high school are the only schools that will be participating in the new way of testing.

“Having completes our phased approach to returning in person,” assistant principal Melissa Gates said. “Our focus is responsibly maintaining in-person learning.”