Parents/Guardians Can Now Provide Consent for Voluntary Student COVID-19 Testing

Effective Monday, April 12, HCPSS will offer a voluntary K-12 COVID-19 Testing Program that will provide free tests for students and school-based staff who develop COVID-like symptoms or are identified as close contacts while they are in a school building. Parents/guardians should not send their children to school, and staff should not report to work if they are presenting COVID-like symptoms.

The program includes two components:

  • Administration of two types of COVID-19 tests – rapid antigen point-of-care (POC) and/or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) specimen collection – as needed, and
  • Sharing test results with the Maryland Department of Health and Howard County Health Department for contact tracing purposes. Disclosure of this information is protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act* and requires your consent before it can be shared.

Please note:

  • For students under age 18, parents/guardians can provide consent by completing the following steps:
    1. Log in to HCPSS Connect Synergy
    2. Select More Options from the left panel
    3. Select COVID Testing Permission
    4. Complete the question in the form for each child. Families may select different school options for each child.
  • Students age 18 years or older are considered “eligible students” and must complete a print version of the consent form for the disclosure of their education records or personally identifiable information contained therein. Print consent forms also are available in each school’s health room. Completed forms should be returned to the school nurse or health assistant. Parents may not change permission values for these students.
    1. Visit www.hcpss.me and log in to Synergy
    2. Select More Options from the left panel
    3. Select COVID Testing Permission
    4. Complete the question in the form.

In addition, HCPSS will offer free weekly self-collection, saliva-based PCR tests to students participating in organized school sports or club activities for surveillance testing. The program is voluntary and consent is required.

Answers to frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 Testing Program for students and staff are available online.

*Pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 C.F.R. part 99), the written consent of a parent or eligible student is required before the education records of a student, or personally identifiable information contained therein, may be disclosed to a third party, unless an exception to this general requirement of written consent applies.

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Scott E

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