Affinity Empowering, Inc., a provider of occupational, behavioral and direct-to-consumer health services, has announced the Georgia Fugees Academy Charter School in Clarkston has been enrolled in Operation Expanded Testing (OET) and has begun providing no-cost COVID-19 tests to its students and teachers, marking the first school enrollment into OET in Georgia.

The Georgia Fugees Academy Charter School is a 6-12 grades public charter school in the Atlanta area designed to meet the needs of refugee and new American students through English language acquisition and foundational skill study, culturally relevant curriculum and wraparound supports, arts programming and soccer participation. Testing is performed on a weekly basis with a rotating schedule for all 170 students, faculty and staff as part of the school’s COVID-19 strategy, which also includes masking and social distancing.

“Having classroom learning is so important for all students, but we have found that language skills in particular are especially challenging to teach in a remote setting. Once we decided that in-person learning was essential, we put together a layered COVID-19 strategy that included surveillance testing for the community,” says Corina Sanchez, Operations Manager at the Georgia Fugees Academy Charter School. “Operation Expanded Testing has been a great tool to keep our school safe.”

Affinity Empowering offers the OET program on behalf of Eurofins Clinical. Affinity and Eurofins use PCR testing, the gold standard for accurate detection of COVID-19. The PCR test used in OET has 100% sensitivity and specificity, meaning that there are no false positives or false negatives. It also has the lowest limit of detection for any authorized COVID-19 test, enabling detection of COVID-19 at its earliest stages when viral load is low.

While testing, individuals submit two samples – collected from the tip of the nose for minimal invasiveness. One sample from each individual is pooled together to expedite sample analysis. If a pool shows a positive result, the individual secondary samples from that pool are immediately analyzed. This scheme avoids the need for sample recollection and lowers the overall turnaround time for results. Through its proprietary Assure integrated technology platform, Affinity delivers COVID-19 test results with an average turnaround time of 24 hours.