The Division of Public Health has announced a new partnership to provide comprehensive COVID-19 testing, processing, and reporting in the state’s schools.
The partnership is with the Department of Education and Quidel Corporation to provide on-the-spot results in as little as 10 minutes. Quidel will use its rapid antigen tests for testing.
While the state is using $15 million for the testing program, it’ll be free to schools and staff as Quidel provides the on-site testing, they will analyze the results, and report them to families and the state.
Dana Carr is the education liaison for DPH. She says teachers and school staff have been responsible for testing last school year.
"This allows us to expand to any school that's interested in the state, and it allows us to provide the staffing and support for the testing protocols as well as the materials to take the burden off of educators and school nursing staff to allow them to focus on what they need to focus on in the school environment."
The testing has already launched at five pilot schools for this summer, and it can expand to every school in the fall semester if requested. Carr says she’s already heard interest from school districts.
Carr says it’s up to schools to determine their testing needs.
"So they will work with Quidel to create a schedule. Some of them might decide to do it weekly, some of them might decide that their sports teams for example might do it before games, or you know it might just be certain groups of students, maybe students with special healthcare needs who are more vulnerable."
Combined with other practices such as social distancing and wearing masks, Carr says testing will help keep kids safe throughout the next school year.
Parental permission is required for students to participate.
The testing service - which is being paid for with federal COVID funds - is aimed at testing asymptomatic staff and students.