Sept 2020—Aug 2022
Type of Evaluation
Formative, Implementation, Planning, Process
Academic, Community-based, Health, School
The Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center at Washington University in St. Louis collaborated with multiple partners to enable successful implementation of a newly approved saliva-based SARS-CoV-2 test for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities and school staff so that schools could reopen and operate as safely as possible.
The Evaluation Center facilitated discussion sessions with parents/caregivers and school staff to better understand facilitators and barriers to the uptake of testing, to information testing implementation and messaging strategies to maximize delivery of weekly COVID-19 testing at six schools.
Intellectual and developmental disabilities collectively affect one in six individuals in the U.S. population and exact a very serious, often catastrophic toll on quality of life. The primary goal of the project was to enable successful implementation of a newly approved saliva-based SARS-CoV-2 test for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities and school staff so that schools could operate as safely as possible.
The team partnered with six Special School District of St. Louis County schools to test different strategies to maximize delivery of weekly testing. Over the course of the study, the team performed a minimum of 52,000 diagnostic tests on saliva. In addition, the team assessed national perspectives among parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities and school staff regarding the impact of COVID-19 and the importance of testing. By identifying the most effective methods for SARS-CoV-2 testing in a vulnerable population of children, the team established a blueprint for wider adoption of COVID-19 mitigation efforts, such as vaccination. A national survey was also implemented across the country to obtain a broader understanding of the impact of COVID-19, testing and vaccinations on children and their families.
The Washington University team was led by the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center and included members from the Evaluation Center, McDonnell Genome Institute, Institute for Informatics, Center for Implementation and Dissemination, and Health Communication Research Laboratory.
The Washington University team partnered with the Special School District of St. Louis County, University of Missouri Kansas City Institute of Human Development and Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities at the Kennedy Krieger Institute.
Evaluation Center Activities
- Designed, conducted and analyzed discussion sessions with parents/caregivers, teachers and other school staff to assess barriers and facilitators to regular asymptomatic COVID-19 testing for students and staff.
- Designed, conducted and analyzed key informant interviews with district and school administrators to understand the contextual facilitators and barriers to COVID-19 testing for schools.
- Assessed the impact of COVID-19 and the importance of SARS-CoV 2 testing as a mitigation strategy among parents of children with IDD and school staff.
- Implemented a participatory process to engage parents/caregivers and staff in the development of the discussion sessions and utilization of the findings through parent and school advisory groups.
- Provided consultation on the testing process, study design, message development, dissemination approach, and product design.
- Discussion session guides and protocols
- Discussion session findings report
- Presentations and briefs
- Annual reports
The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH, DHHS