4 Ways Schools Can Find COVID-19 Tests

How to find tests for your school, plus: NAESP launches new grassroots network.

Topics: Advocacy and Legislation, Pandemic Leadership

As the omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to surge across the country, schools must be well-positioned with resources to prioritize the health and safety of their students and staff. Topping that list? Increased access to COVID-19 testing in schools. In response, the White House recently announced new actions it’s taking to boost COVID-19 testing in schools, including making 10 million tests available to schools per month.

Here are four ways schools can find COVID-19 tests:

1. Use your state’s K-12 testing resources

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) awarded $10 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) to jurisdictions to support school-based testing to reopen and keep schools operating safely. States have a variety of resources in place, including many with turnkey programs to implement testing in K 12 schools. See what services your jurisdiction might be offering.

What’s new? The administration announced 5 million additional point-of-care, rapid antigen tests per month for school-based testing programs, which states may request for schools.

2. Use operation expanded testing (OpET)

The OpET program provides free PCR testing at schools, child care, and other settings nationwide. Three federally funded regional contractors provide testing materials, supplies, and lab results and reporting to schools at no direct cost. Visit the OpET website to get started.

What’s new? OpET can now accommodate an additional 5 million lab-based tests per month from schools. Schools may request directly.

3. Get connected with school testing providers

Schools received $130 billion in ESSER funds under the ARP that may be used to arrange for testing and testing-related services. If your district or school is interested in working directly with testing vendors that support testing in schools, connect with them.

What’s new? The U.S. Department of Education and the CDC will help interested schools make additional connections with their state and testing providers.

4. Find a community COVID-19 testing site nearby or request a “surge site” near your school

Schools may consider referring students, teachers, and staff to community-based testing sites. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has partnered with pharmacies and retail companies to accelerate testing. Find a site near you.

What’s new? Federal surge testing sites may be placed near schools or feature dedicated hours for students, families, and teachers. States may request.

Related Resources:

NAESP Launches the Grassroots Advocacy Network

NAESP is proud to announce the launch of a new opportunity for NAESP members to engage in advocacy: the Grassroots Advocacy Network (GAN).

What Is GAN?

As a member of GAN, you are joining a network of principals from across the country to push for a stronger principal voice in public policymaking at all levels—federal, state, and local. GAN will provide access to exclusive advocacy training, grassroots advocacy content, opportunities to engage with national advocacy experts, and other networking opportunities.

Why GAN?

NAESP’s advocacy team operates with a core belief that principals’ voices matters in policy debates at all levels: federal, state, and local. No individual knows and understands a school’s needs better than a principal, so it is critical for these individuals to be at the policymaking table to provide input in K-12 policy and program development. Too often, though, barriers prevent principals from taking on this critical role. GAN aims to address some of these barriers. By joining GAN, members will receive access to exclusive advocacy training and tools; build the necessary skills, knowledge, and confidence to be an effective principal advocate; and join a national network of principal advocates.

The strength of an organization’s advocacy is only as strong as its grassroots network. NAESP’s vision is that GAN will boost its network of grassroots advocates, lead to more members engaged in advocacy, and strengthen the principal voice at all policymaking levels. Ultimately, more principals engaged in advocacy will mean more policymakers better understanding what principals do on a day-to-day basis, better appreciation for the powerful role principals play in student success, and a better understanding of what resources principals need to best serve their students. More principal advocates engaged in this work will have an important payoff: increased funding for schools, more investments in the support and professional development for principals, and improved recognition and benefits for principals.

Who Can Apply?

Current NAESP members.

When Should I Apply?

The deadline is March 4, 2022.

Where Can I Go To Learn More?