Health Policy and Procedure: Problem Statement

For nearly two years now, the COVID-19 pandemic has been the top priority health issue. Medical professionals have developed several effective methods for diagnosing and treating coronavirus infection, including vaccines, but the problem remains. It is mainly because of the mechanism of the spread and infectivity of the COVID-19. As a result, many groups within the population are still at risk, even with existing medical solutions. Overweight and obese people, individuals with chronic respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, as well as persons with diabetes and cancer are the most affected ones. COVID-19 screening testing of all population segments, including less affected ones such as children and adolescents, could solve the global coronavirus crisis.

Policy Statement

COVID-19 screening testing will be conducted for autistic children from “ABCD” school with K-12 grades. Over the past two years, COVID-19 screening testing has become a well-established and almost traditional practice in many public and private entities, organizations, and companies. Students with autism spectrum disorder will receive either after exposure testing or no exposure testing, as the case may be. Testing location can also vary, depending on whether the educational facility has a limited-service laboratory (LSL) registration or partnerships with local healthcare providers. Recent studies have shown that “autistic adults, adults with intellectual disability, and adults with mental health diagnoses have multiple risk factors for infection with COVID-19 and for experiencing more severe disease if they contract COVID-19” (Korp, 2021, para. 1). It may also be true for autistic children and adolescents, especially those who attend school. The screening testing procedures, which will be described below, will help avoid, prevent, and stop coronavirus infection inside and outside the school, which will positively impact public health.

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Definitions

According to medical professionals, screening testing is performed to identify “infected people, including those with or without symptoms … who may be contagious, so that measures can be taken to prevent further transmission” (Guidance for COVID-19 prevention in K-12 schools, 2021, para. 25).

Having an LSL allows various healthcare facilities as well as schools to conduct “waived and/or provider-performed microscopy procedures” (limited service laboratories, n.d., para. 1).

Procedures

After Exposure COVID-19 Screening Testing Procedure

  1. “ABCD” school must have an LSL or a partnership with a local healthcare provider to perform screening tests.
  2. Screening testing is done using antigen or molecular tests.
  3. Screening testing is only permitted if within-school limited service laboratory or partner local healthcare provider meets all state health care requirements.
  4. The procedure is provided to symptomatic students of “ABCD” school with autism spectrum disorder who have been exposed to a COVID-19 patient within the last two weeks.
  5. The procedure is provided to asymptomatic students of “ABCD” school with autism spectrum disorder who have been exposed to a COVID-19 patient within the last two weeks.
  6. The procedure is also provided to school staff members.
  7. Sample collection is carried out by laboratory staff or partner organization workers either at the school or onsite of the partner healthcare provider; pooled testing is allowed.
  8. The procedure is carried out regardless of the current levels of community transmission, which was measured in the last seven days; it applies to both types of testing (Hochul et al., 2021).

No Exposure COVID-19 Screening Testing Procedure

  1. “ABCD” school must have an LSL or a partnership with a local healthcare provider to perform screening tests.
  2. Screening testing is done using antigen or molecular tests.
  3. Screening testing is only permitted if within-school limited service laboratory or partner local healthcare provider meets all state health care requirements.
  4. The procedure is provided to asymptomatic students of “ABCD” school with autism spectrum disorder regardless of whether they have been exposed to a COVID-19 patient or not.
  5. The procedure is also provided to school staff members.
  6. Sample collection is carried out by laboratory staff or partner organization workers either at the school or onsite of the partner healthcare provider; pooled testing is allowed.

References

Guidance for COVID-19 prevention in K-12 schools. (2021). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Hochul, K., Zucker, H. A., & Pino, L. (2021). Interim NYSDOH guidance for classroom instruction in P-12 SCHOOLS during the 2021-2022 academic year. New York State Department of Health.

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Korp, A. (2021). Report: Autistic individuals have increased risk of COVID-19. DrexelNOW.

Limited service laboratories. (n.d.). Department of Health, Wadsworth Center.

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