By MyFM's Ray Auger - Governor Baker announced today that a Pooled Testing program will be available to Massachusetts schools, on a weekly basis, to encourage schools to transition back to in-school learning. “Pool testing will provide additional safeguards to stop the spread and give students, parents, teachers and staff confidence that it is safe to be in schools, and this new testing will give school officials more knowledge about what’s happening inside their buildings every day,” Baker said.
What is Pooled Testing?
Pooling samples involves mixing several samples together in a "batch" or pooled sample, then testing the pooled sample with a diagnostic test. This approach increases the number of individuals that can be tested using the same amount of resources. For example, four samples may be tested together, using only the resources needed for a single test. However, because samples are diluted, which could result in less viral genetic material available to detect, there is a greater likelihood of false negative results, particularly if not properly validated. This method of pooling samples works well when there is a low prevalence of cases, meaning more negative results are expected than positive results.