FWISD is partnering with UT-Southwestern Medical Center and Texas Health Resources for this important voluntary study that examines the prevalence of COVID-19 infections and exposure in the Dallas-Fort Worth region and why certain people are more affected than others, the school district said in a news release.
FWISD campus-based employees received an email with a QR code and unique links to complete a brief survey Nov. 5. Employees who complete the survey will be randomly selected to receive:
– A free COVID-19 nose swab for active infection
– A free COVID-19 antibody blood test in which blood will be drawn from the patient’s arm by a trained medical technician to see if they’ve ever been infected
– Quick test results and advice on next steps if an active COVID-19 infection is identified
The study is optional, and there’s no compensation for participating. However, campus-based employees are encouraged to answer the call to help in this community-wide effort, the school district said. Only employees who’ve received an invitation may participate in the study.
The study results will be used to develop ways for reducing COVID-19 infections and deaths. The study is two-fold and includes a random, population-based sample of 30,000 households in Dallas and Tarrant counties and an occupation-based sample of 14,000 high-risk individuals working in non-medical jobs in both counties.
“The DFW COVID-19 Prevalence Study will provide vitally important insights into the distribution and spread of COVID-19 throughout the community,” said UT-Southwestern Medical Center President Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky in a recent statement issued by the medical center.
“A deeper understanding of who is most exposed and how the virus is spreading will help policy makers as well as civic and business leaders to formulate effective mitigation and containment strategies and highlight where we have opportunities to improve the health of local communities through equitable public health strategies,” Podolsky said.
Businesses in Tarrant and Dallas counties with essential front-line employees – individuals who report to jobs at a work location outside their homes and who are in close physical proximity with the community, customers or colleagues – were selected to participate in the study. A random selection of employees for companies with more than 250 employees were invited to participate in the study.
Employees selected to take the COVID-19 tests will be scheduled for the tests at a community testing site in Tarrant or Dallas county. Prior to the test, they must sign a consent form for their results to be included in the study. The consent also allows results of a positive COVID-19 test to be reported to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), which is required by law to ensure contact tracing, and FWISD Student Support Services and Health Services officials to ensure the health and safety of colleagues the employee may have had contact with.
Individuals with a positive COVID-19 test will be notified within two days and offered informational resources for keeping themselves and their family safe. Tests that show otherwise will be mailed within two weeks.
Businesses participating in the study will receive an aggregate report of all antibody test results by industry after the study is completed. Individual antibody test results will not be shared with employers. The COVID-19 positivity rate of a particular business will not be reported to the public in the study but by sector.
For additional information about the study, visit https://utswmed.org/covid-19/prevalence-study