Feasibility of specimen self-collection in young children undergoing SARS-COV-2 surveillance for in person learning

The study was conducted at a K-8 school in California with 296 participants to assess whether school children aged 5 to 14 years, can feasibly self-collect SARS-CoV-2 samples for surveillance testing over the course of an academic year. Clinical research staff provided all students with instructions to ensure proper technique.

Errors occurred in 2.7% (n = 107; 95% CI, 2.2%-3.2%) of student encounters, with the highest rate occurring on the first day of testing (20 [10.2%]). There was an overall decrease in error rates over time.

Although error rates were initially high, they rapidly decreased and stabilized at around 3% within the first month of testing. This shows that students were able to master nasal swabbing techniques and that lower nasal swabbing is well-tolerated by children as young as 5 years.

Between April and June 2021, 193 encounters were timed. The mean duration of each encounter was 70 seconds (95% CI, 66.4-73.7 seconds).

Jonathan Altamirano, MS1,2; Marcela Lopez, BA1; India G. Robinson, BS1; et al JAMA Network Open. 2022;5(2):e2148988. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.48988 . FEBRUARY 17, 2022