Federal Resources for COVID Testing in Schools to Keep Students Safe and Schools Open

Leesburg, VA – The Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. Department of Education and the White House have announced a plan to provide additional COVID-19 testing materials and services for schools, including Catholic and private schools. The most effective strategy for preventing the spread of COVID-19 is three-pronged: vaccination, masking and testing. To assist with the testing, several programs are being funded and are available to private schools.

Diagnostic Testing Programs:

Two types of diagnostic testing programs detect active coronavirus infection:

  1. Molecular (RT-PCR) tests collected with a nasal or throat swab. Samples are sent to a lab and may take several days to receive results. All materials and analysis are provided, but not personnel to collect the sample. Schools must arrange for that – but funding may be available to cover administration.
  2. Rapid antigen tests that analyze saliva collected by spitting into a tube, results available in a few minutes. Tests may be used by students and school personnel – but must be done at school, not allowed to be taken at home.

To increase testing capacity, the government is making five million of each of these tests available to schools each month. Both programs require schools to access them through their state health departments.

Several federally funded programs are available at the state level. Begin by reviewing what is available at your state and local health departments and consulting the websites below.

This CDC link provides detailed information about programs with links to the state agencies that are the contact point for services.

An additional outstanding resource to consult is Open & Safe Schools.

To support schools that want to set up COVID-19 testing programs, the Department of Education and CDC will work with states and outside organizations to help schools make connections to testing providers that are available in their state. This includes connecting local school districts with the testing providers contracted by their states to set up COVID-19 testing sites.

FEMA’s Public Assistance Program continues to provide federal funding localities to support COVID-19 testing. 100% reimbursement is available for schools and localities to set up diagnostic and screening testing programs. (NB: receipt of funds in this program constitutes federal financial assistance.)

The full fact sheet from the White House is available online.

Additional information will be forthcoming in the next few weeks and will be posted here when available.

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