PCR Testing FAQs

Starting September 13, our on-campus testing partner, Inspire Diagnostics, will provide weekly lab-based PCR testing free of charge to all of our students and staff. 

Beginning Monday, Sept. 13, we are asking all students and employees to perform a COVID PCR test once a week until further notice. Please get tested on your assigned day of the week, listed below. You don’t need to make an appointment; just come to the Inspire Diagnostics testing site in the Spieker Center lobby and show them the QR code you received when you pre-registered.

Monday, 8:00 am-4:00 pm

  • All freshman and sophomore students
  • All freshman and sophomore advocates
  • Non-advocate Upper School teachers, last names A-M
  • Upper School coaches, last names A-M
  • Administration/Student Life
  • Admissions
  • Business Office
  • Communications

Wednesday, 8:00 am-4:00 pm

  • All Middle School students
  • All Middle School faculty and staff
  • All Middle School coaches
  • Development
  • Facilities
  • Health Office

Friday, 8:00 am-4:00 pm

  • All junior and senior students
  • All junior and senior advocates
  • Non-advocate Upper School teachers, last names N-Z
  • Upper School coaches, last names N-Z
  • College Counseling
  • School Counselors
  • Technology

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the accuracy of Inspire Diagnostics’ PCR test?

According to Inspire, PCR testing for COVID-19 is the gold standard in terms of accuracy. The test that Inspire employs—an RT-PCR—attributes high sensitivity and specificity. Clinical studies showed 100% on both sensitivity and specificity. If you would like to learn more about Inspire’s accuracy rates and how to understand them, click here.

How do I register with Inspire Diagnostics?

Pre-registering with Inspire is fast, easy, and only needs to be done once. Menlo students and employees can pre-register here and will need their insurance information. Once pre-registered, students will get an electronic QR code (or a physical QR code card if they would prefer) to show each time they come in for testing.

My child had COVID-19 within the last 90 days; do they need to test?

No. If your child has had COVID-19 in the last three months, please contact the Health Office (nurse@menloschool.org) for more information.

If we test this many students, isn’t it likely that someone will test positive for COVID-19 and have to isolate themselves?

While we hope not, given the contagious nature of the Delta variant, the odds are not in our favor. We will share more on what testing positive means in our next section, but please know that we will be there as a school and a Health Office for any student and family that receives a test result none of us are hoping for.

If my student tests positive or is deemed to be a close contact of someone who tests positive, can they still come to school?

While the County has very clear guidelines that we must follow, the good news is that they have adjusted their guidelines from last spring quite significantly to balance keeping everyone safe while also keeping children in schools as much as possible, which we know to be good for them.

  • If an individual tests positive: they must isolate at home for ten days after their positive test or until 24 hours after their symptoms subside, whichever is longer. Unfortunately, for obvious reasons, there are no exceptions to this rule. That said, if the student is not experiencing symptoms and is up for continuing their learning, our distance learning program will be available to them as they work through their isolation period.
  • If a vaccinated individual is deemed to be a close contact of someone who tests positive: First and most importantly, if the individual is experiencing or begins to experience these COVID-19 symptoms they need to stay home, obtain a lab-based PCR test, and remain off campus until they receive their results. If, however, the individual remains asymptomatic, County guidelines request vaccinated people who are deemed close contacts to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 to obtain a PCR test 5 days after the last exposure and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result. They do not, however, need to quarantine themselves unless and until they receive a positive test result for COVID-19.
  • If an unvaccinated individual is deemed a close contact of someone who tests positive: First and most importantly, if your student is experiencing or begins to experience these COVID-19 symptoms they need to stay home, obtain a lab-based PCR test, and remain off campus until they receive their results. Further, we strongly recommend that you contact your healthcare provider.

    Asymptomatic, unvaccinated close contacts must undergo a modified 10-day quarantine. They may continue to attend school for in-person instruction if they:
    • Remain asymptomatic;
    • Continue to appropriately mask, as required, indoors and outdoors;
    • And undergo testing twice during the 10-day quarantine (the Health Office will tell you when to test).

Unfortunately, the County’s 10-day modified quarantine does not allow for participation in any after-school or extracurricular activities, including sports, and activities within the community setting for the duration of the 10 days.

I have some more questions that aren’t answered here; what’s the easiest way to find answers?

Thank you for taking the time to read this FAQ. Further questions can be directed to nurse@menloschool.org and Joan Barada or Laurel Marks will be happy to help in any way they can.