White House Announces Increased investment in COVID-19 Testing at K12 Schools

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White House Announces Increased investment in COVID-19 Testing at K12 Schools

Today, the White House announced it will be expanding its investments in COVID-19 testing at K12 schools by:

  • Sending 5 Million No-Cost Point-of-Care Tests Per Month to Schools. 
  • Providing 5 Million Additional Lab-Based PCR Tests for Free to Schools Per Month
  • Deploying Federal Surge Testing Units to Support Free Testing Access for Students, School Staff, and Families at Community Testing Sites.
  • Connecting Schools with COVID-19 Testing Providers to Set Up School Testing Programs using American Rescue Plan Funds. 
  • New Training, Resources, and Materials for Implementing Test to Stay in Schools.

In a Dear Colleague letter, Secretary Cardona outlined new and existing resources from the federal government that can help you access tests and implement testing programs in your schools. The letter recommended:

  • Using your state's COVID-19 testing program(s) and resources, funded by the CDC Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity (ELC) program,
  • Accessing free lab-based testing through the CDC Operation Expanded Testing (OpET) program,
  • Connecting with school COVID-19 testing vendors, and
  • Partnering with a community COVID-19 testing site near your school that your students and staff can use.

In response to today’s announcement about expanded support for COVID-19 testing in schools, Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association, issued the following statement:

“We applaud this announcement. School superintendents across the nation have been working tirelessly this school year to ensure as robust of an in-person educational opportunity as possible in the current COVID environment, and today’s news is a critical expansion of one of the mitigation strategies schools and system leaders are increasingly relying on: Testing.

“The plan relies on a blended approach of testing supports: Distributing 5 million free, rapid tests to schools each month; providing 5 million additional PCR tests for free to schools each month; organizing surge testing units to support expanded testing needs in communities; working with states and outside organizations to connect schools with testing providers; and distributing additional training, resources and materials related to last month’s Test to Stay policy update.

“These resources are a welcome opportunity for school system leaders working to expand and strengthen the role of testing in their schools’ COVID mitigation work.” 

Full details in the White House press release. You can find Sec. Cardona's full Dear Colleague letter here. Find the AASA press release here.