Gary Weisserman, Head of School
Dear Bernard Zell Community,
An article was recently published by the New York Times regarding the experience of New Trier High School with Safeguard Surveillance, the same saliva testing provider used by Bernard Zell. The article implies at various points that Safeguard is operating outside the guidance of the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services. This is not the case. Safeguard has been following the directives of all relevant regulatory bodies and received multiple affirmations that its procedures were in accordance with both state and federal guidance; in fact, IDPH confirmed to Safeguard in response to the New York Times article once again that its surveillance screening meets all appropriate measures. Safeguard has furthermore recently received CLIA-certification even though it is not required, as its tests serve only as a referral mechanism for further investigation and are not diagnostic in nature.
New Trier High School thoroughly outlined the problematic nature of this article and consequently requested a retraction that they have since made public on their website. Here at Bernard Zell, as well as at New Trier and several other schools, surveillance screening has been an important mitigation layer in assessing our community’s health and has led to the detection of asymptomatic cases. The ability for us to know our community’s true positivity and incidence rate allows us to effectively interpret and utilize the most recent CDC guidelines around safe in-person instruction. We chose Safeguard Screening as our testing provider for their speed, accuracy and cost-effectiveness, but also because they have been excellent partners. From the inception of this relationship, they have kept us informed about what they can and can’t provide, making adjustments as needed to meet shifting federal guidance.
We will continue to monitor the situation but do not intend at this time to seek another testing provider. Should you have further questions, please feel free to contact me, or Audris Wong, directly.
Head of School