CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Chicopee Public Schools are participating in a new pool testing program to screen students and staff for COVID-19.

The program began on Monday. Here’s how it works. A group of students gets tested, and those swabs will go to a lab together in a single tube to be tested together in one batch.

If a pooled result is negative, every individual in that pool is presumed negative. However, if it’s positive, the individuals in that batch will be re-tested using rapid tests. Positive individuals and their close contacts will then be isolated and quarantined.

Chicopee Schools Superintendent Lynn Clark told 22News this is a great way to keep everyone safe and healthy as more kids return to the classroom in the coming weeks, “I think it adds another layer of mitigation. It takes away the wonder behind it for families and staff.”

The pool tests will use short swabs that go into the front portion of the nose. The program is voluntary.