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Wisconsin to provide free COVID-19 testing for schools

UW Health COVID-19 testing tubes
UW Health COVID-19 testing tubes(UW Health)
Updated: Jun. 22, 2021 at 1:04 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - Gov. Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services announces Tuesday that free COVID-19 testing services will be available to all K-12 schools in Wisconsin for the next school year.

The DHS will connect public, private and charter schools with testing partners using a federally-funded program. Schools will have access to rapid antigen testing and the more accurate lab tests. Family members will also be allowed to get tested with the hope of results within 24 hours.

“Until COVID-19 vaccines are available to students of all ages, testing remains one of our best tools to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our schools,” Gov. Evers said in a written statement. “This testing program supports schools so our educators and staff can focus on what they do best – teaching our kids.”

Details of the program can be found at https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/testing-schools.htm. Schools and school districts need to complete a participation survey available at that website by July 9.

Schools can choose the type of testing that works best for them: Testing unvaccinated, asymptomatic individuals on a routine basis; testing people with symptoms or who had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19; testing people who participate in or attend school-based activities; or testing large groups during an outbreak.

The testing is intended to be an addition to mitigation efforts at schools, including physical distancing, the correct use of face masks, and thorough handwashing.

“By quickly identifying new COVID-19 cases by offering testing in schools, we will also be protecting the health of family members of kids, teachers and staff, as well as the wider community,” DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake added.

The DHS says it encourages anyone eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine -- teachers, staff, students, family members and people in the community -- to find a vaccine provider near them at vaccines.gov or by calling 211.

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