Since day one, the Biden-Harris Administration has taken each step out there to maintain faculties safely open for full-time, in-person instruction. These efforts have resulted in 96% of faculties open in-person in January 2022, up from 46% of faculties in January 2021. College students have sacrificed a lot over the course of the pandemic, and the President has been clear in his phrases and his actions that his Administration will do all that it will possibly to maintain faculties safely open for all college students.
Immediately the Biden-Harris Administration is doubling down on our dedication to retaining all faculties safely open for full-time in-person studying by taking new motion to extend entry to COVID-19 testing in faculties. By means of these new initiatives, the Administration will enhance the variety of COVID-19 checks out there to varsities by 10 million per thirty days. These further checks will assist faculties safely stay open and implement screening testing and check to remain packages. With the extra ten million checks per thirty days, we are going to make out there to varsities greater than double the quantity of testing that occurred in faculties throughout the nation in November 2021 (the newest knowledge out there).
We all know the way to hold college students and workers safely in class—together with by way of vaccinations and boosters, implementing common indoor masking, sustaining bodily distancing, enhancing air flow, and performing COVID-19 screening testing. Over the previous yr, the Biden-Harris Administration has offered historic funding and intensive sources to states and college districts throughout the nation to ensure faculties reopen and stay open – together with $130 billion within the Elementary and Secondary Faculty Emergency Aid fund to securely reopen faculties and deal with college students’ educational and psychological well being wants, and $10 billion within the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capability (ELC) cooperative settlement to help COVID-19 testing for college students and workers.
Immediately, the Biden-Harris Administration is growing COVID-19 testing for faculties by:
Sending 5 Million No-Value Level-of-Care Assessments Per Month to Faculties. The Administration will distribute 5 million free, speedy checks to varsities every month to assist Ok-12 faculties keep open and to implement and maintain screening testing and check to remain packages in accordance with steering from the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC). This new allocation builds on the CDC Epidemiology and Laboratory Capability (ELC) program, which distributed $10 billion in sources to states to help COVID-19 testing in faculties. CDC will work with states who can submit requests to obtain further checks for high-need faculty districts that may put these checks instantly to use. After states submit preliminary requests, the primary shipments shall be delivered later this month.
Offering 5 Million Further Lab-Primarily based PCR Assessments for Free to Faculties Per Month: The Administration is making out there lab capability to help an extra 5 million PCR checks per thirty days for faculties to carry out particular person and pooled testing in lecture rooms nationwide. The extra testing shall be delivered by way of the Division of Well being and Human Providers’ (HHS) Operation Expanded Testing (ET) program, funded by the American Rescue Plan to supply free PCR testing at faculties nationwide. Three federally funded regional suppliers provide testing supplies, provides, and lab outcomes and reporting at no direct price to recipients by way of 4 regional hubs. Faculties can instantly acquire entry to this free lab-based testing.
Deploying Federal Surge Testing Models to Assist Free Testing Entry for College students, Faculty Workers, and Households at Neighborhood Testing Websites. HHS and FEMA are working with state, territorial, and tribal companions to deal with testing wants in communities and get up federal testing websites. These surge testing websites are targeted on making certain hardest-hit and highest-risk communities have equitable entry to free and handy testing. Efficient instantly, because the companies evaluation state, territorial, and tribal requests, they are going to take into account how these websites can help the protected operations of Ok-12 faculties. Alternatives to help Ok-12 faculties could embody finding federal testing items on or close to faculty grounds; establishing particular working hours for college students, their households, and college workers; or dedicating a particular portion of each day testing to highschool communities. By incorporating faculty wants, state leaders can extra successfully construct faculty testing into their requests and planning whereas surge check websites proceed to supply sturdy entry to communities with best want.
Connecting Faculties with COVID-19 Testing Suppliers to Set Up Faculty Testing Applications utilizing American Rescue Plan Funds. Along with $10 billion for states to arrange Ok-12 testing packages within the ELC program, the American Rescue Plan included $130 billion within the Elementary and Secondary Faculty Emergency Aid fund to securely reopen faculties, which can be used to help school-based COVID-19 testing. To help faculties that need to arrange COVID-19 testing packages, the Division of Training (ED) and CDC will work with states and out of doors organizations to assist faculties make connections to testing suppliers which might be out there of their state. This consists of connecting native faculty districts with the testing suppliers contracted by their states to arrange COVID-19 testing in class utilizing ELC funding. Whereas packages range by state, these preparations enable faculties to entry testing sources shortly and coordinated with statewide actions, together with accessing check provide and administration. Faculties ought to contact their jurisdiction to hitch current state efforts funded by ELC. CDC and ED may even interact faculties to assist them learn to arrange testing packages and the way they will use their American Rescue Plan funds to help them
New Coaching, Sources, and Supplies for Implementing Check to Keep in Faculties. Final month, CDC launched steering on “check to remain,” an method that permits college students to stay safely within the classroom throughout their quarantine interval so long as they put on masks and check a minimum of two instances within the seven days following an publicity. Check to remain packages are an efficient method for figuring out and containing an infection at college, and assist allow faculties to attenuate and keep away from interruptions to in-person instruction. Later this week, CDC will launch further supplies for faculties on the way to implement check to remain packages, together with a college guidelines and often requested questions and solutions. Moreover, ED and CDC will proceed to supply further alternatives for states and college districts to find out about check to remain and the way to successfully implement check to remain approaches in class.
The actions introduced immediately construct on extra than $10 billion in investments that the Biden-Harris Administration has made in organising testing packages in Ok-12 faculties. Faculty districts also can take benefit of the under sources instantly, as outlined in a letter Secretary Cardona is sending this week to highschool officers demonstrating out there sources to help COVID-19 testing and urging them to get began immediately. Helps additionally embody:
Free Neighborhood COVID-19 Testing Websites. Faculties could take into account referring college students, lecturers, and workers to community-based testing websites which might be supported by federal funding. HHS continues to work with pharmacies and retail corporations to speed up testing for extra Individuals in communities throughout the nation.
Full Reimbursement for COVID-19 Testing Applications. FEMA’s Public Help Program continues to supply federal funding to states, tribal nations, territories and localities to help COVID-19 testing. This consists of testing wanted to securely open and function public services, together with Ok-12 faculties. 100% reimbursement is out there for faculties and localities to arrange diagnostic and screening testing packages. This gives an essential approach for communities to broaden upon federal surge testing websites by offering sources for state and native leaders to open and function further testing websites in partnership with faculties.