North Penn SD begins COVID-19 assurance testing of staff

LANSDALE – The North Penn School District (NPSD) is excited to announce that it is now offering rapid testing to all staff in its effort to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep staff and students healthy. This assurance testing is possible due to a partnership with the Montgomery County Office of Public Health, supported by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).

“I am extremely proud that North Penn is a partner in this assurance testing program,” said Dr. Curtis R. Dietrich, NPSD Superintendent. “Most importantly though, I am thrilled that North Penn can take this preventative measure in helping to keep everyone safe and healthy and our schools open.”

NPSD does not expect a high number of positive test results as people who have been exposed to the virus and those with symptoms should not be reporting to work. In essence, the program is a safeguard for identifying people who may unknowingly carry the virus and then placing them in quarantine protocols until the virus can be confirmed.

In coordination with public health officials and CHOP, NPSD hopes to achieve the following objectives with our participation in this pilot program:


  • Provide weekly assurance testing for staff and small groups of students who require others to be frequently within six feet or less.
  • Support all community members confidence in the maintenance of in-person learning and monitoring our level of exposure in the school setting.
  • Work collaboratively as a school community to help protect each other from exposure to COVID 19.
  • Develop a model of implementation of weekly assurance testing to support other districts around the country


Participation by staff is highly encouraged. Assurance testing takes place in all 18 schools and at the district administration building each week. The testing program uses Abbott BinaxNOW Ag Card Tests. These credit card-sized rapid tests are self-administered through a nasal swab and results are available in 15 minutes.

The Abbott – BinaxNOW Antigen Immunoassay Test detects the presence of a specific viral antigen, which implies current viral infection. This test kit is a screening tool that identifies the presence of viral antigens (SARS-CoV-2) in the body. The tool NPSD is using is a presumptive test which means it only indicates the presence of the COVID-19 virus. If a staff member receives a positive result, the district will provide him or her with further steps to access a confirmatory (molecular) test on school district property.

Approximately 800 out of 2000 staff members have registered to begin the program and more are expected to join as further information is shared. On Thursday, January 14, Dr. Dietrich will join representatives from CHOP in a live, online meeting to answer questions staff may have about assurance testing.

After assurance testing for staff is fully rolled out, NPSD’s next  goal is to offer testing for students who frequently require others to be within six feet. Presently there are insufficient tests available for widespread student testing and the grant funding for this program was written for school staff and for students routinely in close contact.

“Assurance testing is one more tool in our COVID-19 tool box, along with all of our other efforts from hybrid learning, to social distancing to cleaning protocols,” continued Dr. Dietrich. “I want to thank my colleagues participating in this exciting program and for all they have been doing since March in our fight against COVID-19.”