The Biden administration is ramping up federal support for COVID-19 testing for schools to keep them running amid the growing coronavirus.
The White House announced Wednesday that the administration is making a dedicated stream of 5 million rapid tests and 5 million lab-based PCR tests available to schools starting this month to reduce supply shortages and promote the safe reopening of schools. This is more than the $10 billion spent on school tests allowed in the COVID-19 relief law and the roughly $130 billion spent on that law to keep children in school.
The new initiative comes as the White House is facing criticism over long lines and shortages of supplies for the test and after the nation’s third-largest public school system, in Chicago, closed for days after an impasse between teachers and officials over reopening policies. The closures are a black eye for Biden, who has made reopening schools – and keeping them open – a priority.
“We’ve been very clear, publicly and privately, that we want to see schools open,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday. resources needed to tackle whatever may emerge during the pandemic”.
The new tests are just enough to satisfy a fraction of the more than 50 million students and educators in schools nationwide. The administration hopes the tests will fill serious gaps in schools that are struggling to secure tests through existing federal funding or are facing outbreaks of variation. COVID-19 is more contagious.
The White House said states will be able to request the tests immediately and that the tests will be available for use by the end of the month.
The administration is also working to target other federally-backed testing sites to support school testing programs, including identifying Federal Emergency Management Agency sites. state in schools.
Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be releasing new guidance later this week to help schools implement a “test to stay” policy in which schools use rapid testing to keep close contact with people who test positive in the classroom.
Superintendent Susan Enfield of the Highline School District, a suburb of Seattle, Washington, said: “We are facing challenges securing the orders we have placed with the local health department because of the tests are not there.
https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/coronavirus/white-house-vows-provide-10m-covid-tests-schools-each-month/3104769/ White House vows to provide 10 million COVID tests to schools each month – NBC10 Philadelphia