Federal Government Bringing COVID Tests To U.S. Schools

Ahead of the holidays, the federal government, led by the Biden-Harris Administration, is planning to distribute free COVID-19 tests to schools across the United States.

Together with the U.S. Department of Education, the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response, a division within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will be making over-the-counter and rapid antigen COVID-19 tests available to schools.

These tests can be utilized in various ways, such as stocking school nurses’ offices and main offices, sending test kits home with students or parents, or distributing them by other means to ensure that those who need them have access.

Per Fox News, the ED has also reached out to local education agencies, urging school districts to order these tests for the benefit of students, parents, faculty, and school communities.

Roberto Rodriguez, Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development at the ED, emphasized the importance of these self-tests in preventing the spread of COVID-19. He urged schools to take advantage of these free resources to safeguard their students, parents, and staff throughout the 2023-24 school year.

Speaking to Axios, Dawn O’Connell, assistant secretary for preparedness and response, said, “Our schools are so important in our communities. They reach both children, their families, parents, teachers and staff and we think they’re an important avenue to make sure that free tests are available.”

As part of this initiative, millions of tests will be sent out in the coming months, allowing students and staff to self-test throughout the winter months, as mentioned by Dawn O’Connell, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at HHS.

This announcement builds upon previous efforts by the Biden-Harris Administration to increase COVID-19 testing in schools. To date, more than 1.6 billion COVID-19 tests have been distributed to schools, households, long-term care facilities, food banks and community health centers. Approximately four million tests are sent out each week, ensuring that testing remains readily available.

For this latest initiative, each school will have a designated point of contact responsible for assessing the testing needs and ensuring equitable distribution.

In addition to this initiative, households can order four free COVID tests through COVIDTests.gov, a valuable resource in the ongoing fight against the virus. This program, originally launched in January last year, was temporarily suspended in September last year due to funding constraints but resumed in December last year.