Ginko Screening

Making the Classroom a Safe (and Healthy) Space Again

The Problem

The 2020 and 2021 school years left students and teachers alike struggling with unprecedented learning challenges. Students and teachers battled Zoom fatigue, staying focused, inconsistent internet access, adapting lesson plans for remote learning, and ensuring access to basic resources for students like school-provided breakfast and lunch, among many other challenges.

Concentric by Ginkgo, a synthetic biology company, aimed to help K-12 and special education students and teachers return to in-school learning. To offer testing to K-12 schools nationwide, they needed to find reliable diagnostic labs to partner with while keeping costs low to comply with school district budgets.

Concentric by Ginkgo needed to accomplish the following:

  1. Quickly test hundreds of students and faculty each week
  2. Offer fast, same-day results to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks in schools
  3. Lower the cost per sample for real-time PCR tests
  4. Keep students and teachers safe

Each of the requirements were non-negotiable. In a time where COVID-19 tests were difficult to order, how could they ensure steady access to a nationwide diagnostic lab that fulfilled all of their needs?

One Plus One
Equals Two

One Health Labs’ ability to turn around results within two hours of sample collection fit the bill for Concentric by Ginkgo. However, they needed to find a way to lower costs to ensure school districts could afford to implement regular screening. One Health Labs had recently added Pooled Sample Collection to our service offerings, which helps lower the cost per test significantly. In addition, Pooled Sample Collection only required the use of nasal swabs, not nasopharyngeal swabs. Nasal swabs make testing yourself for COVID-19 easy and pain-free so students of all ages could feel comfortable getting tested.

Pooling makes it possible for students and teachers to combine swabs in a single tube and run them in a single test, greatly simplifying sample collection logistics, reducing the need for additional PPE and test kits, and lowering the cost of testing. This type of testing gives schools and districts group-level data to make informed public health decisions at a fraction of individual testing costs while bringing students and teachers back to school with peace of mind.

Keep Kids in School. Keep COVID-19 Out.

Concentric by Ginkgo currently runs testing for hundreds of schools across the country, including large-scale programs in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Baltimore City Public Schools, and Maryland’s Montgomery County. Concentric by Ginkgo expects to onboard numerous additional schools across the country in the coming weeks.