This resource includes information for the following topics:
- Testing Options – when to get tested and where to get tested
- Symptoms of COVID
- Timelines and Terminology
- Vaccine Guidance
Testing Options – what test is right for you and where to get tested
Types of tests:
- PCR – used for symptomatic or asymptomatic people – results are usually back within 48 hours
- Rapid Antigen – used only for asymptomatic people – results are usually back within 15-30 minutes.
Which test do I need?
- If your child has symptoms of COVID or has been identified as a close contact, a PCR or Rapid Molecular test must be done
- A rapid test can be done as a quick confirmation of positive COVID result or for required testing for asymptomatic people (for example, testing required for international travel or to attend certain venues).
- Please note: A PCR/Rapid Molecular test is more reliable than a rapid Antigen test. Rapid antigen tests are known to produce false negatives, however, if a rapid antigen test is positive, it has almost always been backed up as positive by a PCR/ Rapid Molecular test.
How do I get a PCR/Rapid Molecular test?
- Rapid Molecular PCR Testing at Meijer Pharmacy: The rapid molecular test that is available for free through Meijer pharmacy is the easiest and quickest way to get a test result. Make sure you choose the option to get the rapid molecular test when registering. To get started, please click here.
- NxGenMdx has results within 24 hours as of 11/3/2021. Here is the link.
- Testing for Kent County school staff and students is available at several school locations in Kent County. This testing is available to staff and students ONLY who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
- Step 1: Schedule your appointment here: COVID testing site scheduler (you are welcome to sign up at the most convenient location through this scheduler).
- Step 2: Complete the registration paperwork for your appointment using this link.
- Mercy Health – this does not require a referral and can be scheduled online at this website. Insurance should cover the cost but you will want to check into that before the test.
If you are not able to schedule with any of the above resources, please see these additional options:
- Call your physician and see what options they suggest. Ask them to give you a referral to the Spectrum Health drive up at 1300 Michigan. Sometimes it takes time to get in to see a doctor. If that is true for you, use one of the other options listed in this section.
- Spectrum Health – This requires a referral from your doctor or you can set up an on demand visit through MyChart. . You can find details about Spectrum Health’s testing process here.
- Another option is to visit an Urgent Care. You may have to pay the copay for urgent care and the results can be as fast as a few hours to 48 hours depending on where you go. Many families have received results within hours when they visit AFC Urgent Care at 1740 28th St SE. Call 616-323-3999 to make an appointment.
- We do not recommend getting a PCR test at Rite Aid or Walgreens as the results have been taking a full 7 days to be returned to parents.
- All options are detailed on the Kent County Health Department website and at michigan.gov.
How do I get a Rapid Antigen Test?
- A rapid antigen test that you can do at home are available for purchase at Walgreens, Rite Aid and Meijer stores. Supply can be limited.
- Neighborhood Pop Up Sites – search by Kent County to see available locations and times
- GRCDC also has a supply of rapid tests that may be used by families. Please call the office for more information.
Symptoms of COVID
What are the symptoms that require an alternative diagnosis or a COVID test? All of the following are symptoms of COVID: Fever over 100.5, chills, headache, extreme tiredness/fatigue, sore throat, new congestion or runny nose, body aches, nausea/vomiting or diarrhea, new cough, loss of taste or smell, shortness of breath
- If anyone in your household has one of these symptoms, please see the level 1 and level 2 descriptions below to determine your next step.
- PLEASE NOTE: If your child has had a COVID exposure and has even just one COVID symptom, they must stay home and contact the school office for further guidance. The levels below only apply to situations in which there is no known COVID exposure.
- Level 1: An alternative diagnosis or a COVID test is needed if you or your child has ONE of the following symptoms
- New cough
- Loss of taste or smell
- Shortness of breath
- Level 2: An alternative diagnosis or a COVID test is needed if you or your child has any combination of TWO of the symptoms below;
- Fever over 100.5
- Extreme tiredness/fatigue
- Sore throat
- New congestions or runny nose
- Body aches
- Nausea/vomiting or diarrhea
- In our experience so far at GRCDC a prominent symptom for children is a headache.
- If your student experiences one symptom from level 1 above, you must seek a healthcare evaluation.
- If your student has only one symptom from level 2 above, they do not need to seek a healthcare evaluation, however, you may want to keep them home to make sure no other symptoms develop.
Do not send unvaccinated students to school if a sibling or other household member has symptoms that indicate an alternative diagnosis or COVID test is needed (as described above). Do not send unvaccinated students to school while a household member is waiting for COVID test results. You should also not participate in playdates, go to crowded events or participate in other types of get togethers while symptomatic or waiting for test results.
COVID Timelines and Terminology
Isolation is for those who are positive for COVID. While in isolation, the COVID positive person should stay home and avoid contact with others as much as possible.
Quarantine is for those who are a close contact of a COVID positive person. There are different quarantine options depending on the situation and your child’s vaccination status.
- My child is positive for COVID = 10 day isolation period.
- My child has a close contact at school =
- Fully vaccinated students may attend school as long as no COVID symptoms are present. If the student develops any COVID symptoms, a PCR/NAAT test is required before returning to school.
- Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated student may enter the Test to Stay protocol as long as there are no COVID symptoms present. Contact the office for more details. If the student develops any COVID symptoms, a PCR/NAAT test is required before returning to school.
- My child has a close contact inside or outside the home (not a school exposure) =
- Fully vaccinated students may attend school as long as no COVID symptoms are present. If the student develops any COVID symptoms, a PCR/Molecular test is required before returning to school.
- Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated students must stay home during the COVID positive person’s 10 day isolation period. After the 10 day isolation period, the student may return to school and follow the test to stay protocol for 5 day. If at any time during this 15 day window the student displays even just one symptom of COVID, the student must get a PCR/Molecular test. The office will work with you to determine the return to school timeline.
- Someone in my home has symptoms of COVID:
- Vaccinated students may attend if they do not have any COVID symptoms. Please let the office know.
- Unvaccinated students must stay home until the results of the PCR/Molecular test are in (not Rapid Antigen home test).
COVID Vaccine Guidance for children age 5-11: Here are answers to some of the questions we have received from families about the vaccine protocols for children age 5-11.
- Fully Vaccinated: Here is a link the the CDC guidelines about when an individual is considered up to date for the COVID vaccine. It varies by age and type of vaccination.
- Vaccine Records: We do not need to have your vaccine records on file. You will want to keep the vaccination record handy though. If your child is identified as a close contact in the classroom and the student is fully vaccinated, no quarantine will be required unless the student starts showing symptoms of COVID. The office will ask for proof of the vaccination dates at that time.
- Vaccine Appointments: Here are a few options for obtaining a vaccine appointment:
- Vaccine Side Effects: The following are NOT side effects of the vaccine, new cough, loss of taste or smell, shortness of breath. If your child is experiencing one of those symptoms after receiving the vaccine, they should stay home and get a PCR test. Additionally, any child with two of the following symptoms should stay home: fever, chills, headache, extreme tiredness, sore throat, new congestion/runny nose, body aches, nausea/vomiting or diarrhea. There is some overlap in these symptoms with vaccine side effects, particularly the headache and tiredness. If these issues are not resolved within 48 hours, please call your child’s doctor to see if they think you need a COVID test. Please note: As always, students should be fever/vomiting/diarrhea free for 24 hours without the use of medication before returning to school.