Elmhurst schools hold firm to saliva COVID testing plan for students

Elmhurst school officials are holding firm to their plan to saliva test students for COVID-19, allowing a return to in-person school four days a week.

Video Transcript

LIZ NAGY: Tubes of sample saliva will be the price of entry for students to return to regular classroom learning in Elmhurst District 205 starting Monday.

EMMA GARVEY: I feel like it's totally fine. It's just spit. My sister goes to U of I actually, so she's been doing this test for the whole time she's been there. So I feel like there's no issue with it.

LIZ NAGY: The Champagne campus has been successfully using the mass saliva testing method for months, allowing students a safe chance for in-person learning during a pandemic. Now, that same method will apply to Elmhurst middle and high schoolers.

MICHELLE SRAMEK: They started saliva testing probably a month ago, and it's been very successful.

LIZ NAGY: Michelle Sramek's children go to neighboring Riverside schools, and saliva testing, she says, has been a relief.

MICHELLE SRAMEK: It's another measure, you know, to keep every-- to get everybody in school. That's what all the parents really want.

LIZ NAGY: But there are plenty of parents apprehensive about the safety and overreach of the new policy.

ERIN STRATTON: There certainly isn't a necessary a health risk to swabbing your child, but I thought I was the parent.

BEVERLY REDMOND: We understand that this is a topic that there are varying degrees of opinion on. Certainly we are working 100% to make sure that our students are back in school more frequently.

LIZ NAGY: The school district says most teachers are on their way to being fully vaccinated, so saliva testing won't apply to them. Each student will be assigned a tube with a barcode and return it with saliva to a bin at the school's front door at least once a week for testing.

CHRISTOPHER WHELTON: It's 36 hours maximum but usually sooner. We're hoping for to get those the night of the test.

LIZ NAGY: The hope is this will allow a four-day-a-week return to safe, in-person learning. In Elmhurst, Liz Nagy, ABC 7 Eyewitness News.