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New federal program provides free COVID-19 testing for K-8 schools and congregate settings: connect with a school district in your area

Jul 19, 2021 | Andrea Grenadier

U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) is offering an important new federal COVID-19 testing program specifically targeting K-8 and public and private schools, underserved populations, and non-healthcare congregate settings such as homeless shelters. The Department of Defense (DoD) & HHS recently announced the program, and Battelle was selected to manage the Midwest Expanded Testing Coordination Hub. NACCHO is supporting the project to ensure that local health departments (LHDs) are engaged in testing implementation in the following states:

  • CO
  • IA
  • IL
  • IN
  • KS
  • MI
  • MN
  • MO
  • MT
  • ND
  • NE
  • OH
  • SD
  • WI
  • WY
  • UT

Outreach and coordination for the Midwest Coordination Center is ramping up this month. Battelle has an extensive team on board to help schools and congregate settings administer the screening testing process from registering to collecting samples to receive results. As schools are in the process of planning for the next school year, the goal is to commence testing this month so that the protocol is well established for the start of the school year.

NACCHO wants to ensure that you are connected to the implementation team in your jurisdiction. LHDs have critical roles in COVID-19 testing at schools, such as providing guidance to schools on appropriate testing protocols and use of PPE when collecting samples, providing support to schools once a positive case has been identified, and encouraging schools to use a complete contact tracing model that includes some level of surveillance, screening, and diagnostic.

If your LHD is in one of the Midwestern states listed above and is either already engaged in this work or would like to be introduced to the Battelle team to participate in site implementation, please contact Scout Farrow, Membership Specialist, at sfarrow@naccho.org.

For more information about the Midwest Coordination Center and the program overview, please visit the website at www.testedandprotected.org.


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