The White House recently posted a fact sheet on its efforts to increase COVID-19 testing in schools in an effort to keep them open and safe.
The fact sheet, published Jan. 12, notes that the Biden-Harris Administration “is doubling down” on its commitment to keep schools safely open for full-time in-person learning by taking new action to increase access to COVID-19 testing in schools.
“Through these new initiatives, the administration will increase the number of COVID-19 tests available to schools by 10 million per month,” the fact sheet states. “These additional tests will help schools safely remain open and implement screening testing and test-to-stay programs. With the additional 10 million tests per month, we will make available to schools more than double the volume of testing that took place in schools across the nation in November 2021 (the most recent data available).”
The fact sheet notes that over the past year, the administration has provided historic funding and extensive resources to states and school districts across the country to make sure schools reopen and remain open – including $130 billion in the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief fund to safely reopen schools and address students’ academic and mental health needs, and $10 billion in the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity cooperative agreement to support COVID-19 testing for students and staff.
In the fact sheet, the administration notes that it will distribute 5 million free, rapid tests to schools each month to help K-12 schools stay open and to implement and sustain screening testing and test- to-stay programs in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The administration is also making available lab capacity to support an additional 5 million PCR tests per month for schools to perform individual and pooled testing in classrooms nationwide.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona sent a letter to school stakeholders Jan. 12, informing them of the additional resources. In the letter, he writes, “Multiple studies have shown that transmission within school settings is typically lower than or similar to levels of community transmission when prevention strategies are in place in schools. When there are higher levels of community transmission, it is particularly important to strengthen strategies for preventing COVID-19 spread in school, like hosting vaccination clinics, implementing testing programs like Test to Stay for unvaccinated individuals, and always wearing a mask in school.”
Learn more details about the administration’s latest efforts in the fact sheet.