CDC: School COVID-19 testing can preserve in-person learning days

WASHINGTON, DC — As a challenging school year during a pandemic winds down, a new study shows the impact of COVID-19 testing in schools.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention supports the idea that schools executing testing programs may have a better chance at keeping kids in the classroom and allowing them to continue their extracurricular activities.

In the study, the Utah Department of Health implemented two COVID-19 testing programs, along with local health departments and Utah schools.

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The two programs were called “Test to Play” and “Test to Stay.”

In “Test to Play”, students were tested for COVID-19 every 14 days in order to continue their extracurricular activities and sports.

In “Test to Stay”, schoolwide testing was conducted in response to outbreaks.

Those who tested positive had to quarantine, but those who tested negative were permitted to continue in-person learning.

Researchers credited the testing programs with preserving 95% of planned athletic events.

The authors of the study advise health departments to increase community messaging efforts to encourage schools to participate in testing programs.

They say Utah’s programs could serve as a great model for other states.