Governor Evers, DHS Announce Enhanced COVID-19 Testing Support for Schools
COVID-19 testing services are now available for the 2021-2022 school year
Governor Tony Evers and the Department of Health Services (DHS) today announced convenient and free of charge COVID-19 testing support for Wisconsin schools in the 2021-2022 school year. The new program connects schools with testing partners to handle the school’s on-site COVID-19 testing for teachers, staff, students, and their families. The program is intended to make it easier for K-12 public, private, and independent charter schools to offer testing and help people make more informed decisions about how to manage COVID-19 and keep schools operating safely.
“Until COVID-19 vaccines are available to students of all ages, testing remains one of our best tools to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our schools,” said Governor Evers. “This testing program supports schools so our educators and staff can focus on what they do best – teaching our kids.”
Through the program, participating K-12 schools and school districts choose the type of COVID-19 testing that works best for their situation:
- Testing for individuals with symptoms or those who have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19
- Testing for people who attend or participate in school-based events or activities
- Testing on a routine basis for unvaccinated asymptomatic individuals
- Testing of large groups in the school when there has been a COVID-19 outbreak
Participation in the program is voluntary and the testing services are free of charge. Schools and school districts that choose to participate in this federally funded program are encouraged to follow the CDC’s Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Prevention and have access to both rapid, point of care antigen tests and highly accurate, laboratory-based tests.
“Throughout this pandemic, we have seen how access to adequate COVID-19 testing can work to limit the spread of this virus,” said DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake. “This testing program is designed to support the health and well-being of teachers, staff members, and students throughout the state by offering access to COVID-19 testing supplies, diagnostics, and specimen collection services to schools at no charge. By quickly identifying new COVID-19 cases by offering testing in schools, we will also be protecting the health of family members of kids, teachers and staff, as well as the wider community”
Regular COVID-19 testing can help support schools in making decisions about their efforts to protect the health and well-being of those in their buildings, such as universal and correct use of masks, maintaining adequate physical distance, isolation and quarantine, ventilation improvements, and thorough handwashing. DHS also encourages all eligible people – whether they be students, teachers, staff, their family, or members of the community to get vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and one of the best tools to stop the spread of COVID-19 and everyone ages 12 and up is currently eligible to receive one in Wisconsin. To find a vaccine provider near you, go to vaccines.gov or call 211 (or 877-947-2211).
Schools can find more information about the new K-12 COVID-19 testing program for the 2021-2022 school year at www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/testing-schools.htm.