“These self-tests are easy to use and can play an important role in preventing the spread of COVID-19. We encourage schools to make use of these free resources to safeguard students, parents, and staff throughout the 2023-24 school year,” said Roberto Rodriguez, assistant secretary for planning, evaluation, and policy development at the U.S. Department of Education.
Making free COVID-19 tests available to schools this year ensures that students and staff can test throughout the winter months, said Dawn O’Connell, ASPR’s assistant secretary.
The tests will be free for all traditional and charter local education agencies nationwide, the U.S. Department of Education said. School districts can distribute these tests for free to students, staff, parents, and school communities. This will also allow schools to stock nurses’ offices, distribute at events, send tests home with students or parents, and more.
The announcement also comes shortly after Americans could begin ordering more COVID tests from the federal government by visiting covid.gov/tests. Since Nov. 20, every U.S. household can place an order to receive four more free COVID-19 rapid tests.
Health officials are encouraging people to have COVID tests ready at home in case they need it this coming winter season.
“We recommend that everybody keep a supply of COVID tests on hand so that should the need arise to take a test, you’ll have one readily available,” said Dan Suffoletto, public information manager at Public Health - Dayton and Montgomery County.
The holiday season is typically one where increases in respiratory illnesses occur, Bruce Vanderhoff, director of the Ohio Department of Health said in November.
“We will almost certainly some sort of winter surge of COVID-19, RSV, and influenza,” Vanderhoff said.