Wilson students and staff required to submit negative test result before returning to school


Joanna Chait and Charlotte Guy

DCPS students and teachers were required to submit a picture of a negative COVID-19 test to a database prior to returning to school this past Thursday amidst a national Omicron wave. However, the validity of testing results has been questioned.

Today, students were required by DCPS to show proof of their negative test result from last Wednesday to return to Wilson. 

Upon arrival, Wilson administrators asked students to show a picture of their negative COVID test before being allowed to enter the building. Alternatively, students could submit a note from their guardian notifying the school of a negative testing result, due to technical problems with the DCPS database. 

Students that arrived without proof of a negative test either went in a separate line in which an administrator checked for their name in the database or were made to do immediate on-site testing in the gym.

Administrators at Wilson developed a sticker system to keep track of which students submitted negative test results. After students showed a picture of a negative test, upon entering the building, administrators handed them a small circular sticker to put on the back of their phone case. 

Students were required to show proof of their sticker, or negative result, before re-entering the school building on Thursday, January 6. However, some students were able to sneak past administrators and enter the building without a sticker. 

Additionally, students were only had to submit a picture of a negative test to the DCPS website, no further identification was enforced which leads some to question the validity of the results. 

Senior Ryan Thomas included a photo of himself when uploading his test result to the DCPS database because he assumed further identification was necessary. “It would be so easy to just send a picture of a fake test. I’m sure at least one person sent a picture of results that weren’t theirs,” Thomas said. 

“We function on some level of trust [with the test reporting system],” Assistant Principal Camille Robinson, said. But in the case of students who falsified their test or managed to get in the building without one, Robinson hopes they would be caught in the asymptomatic testing.

As of January 9, 1,927 students have submitted their tests, and 125 have tested positive. 11 of the 214 tests submitted by staff are positive. 

The Wilson administration is unsure if there is an exact quantitative measure to determine whether or not a school goes virtual. Instead, the determining factor is whether or not there are enough teachers for the school to operate properly. DCPS defines this as “Operational Impacts.” The decision is not affected by the number of students, Hall said. 

Last month, The Beacon reported delays in the process of notifying the Wilson community of cases. Since then Chancellor Ferebee adjusted the notification process to expedite it.