Pennsylvania To Offer Weekly COVID-19 Testing in Schools
Pennsylvania will offer voluntary COVID-19 testing in all K-12 schools throughout the state. They made the announcement on Monday, ahead of the upcoming school year.
Individual school districts will have to opt in for the testing, and then parents will have to give consent for the testing to take place.
The weekly tests will be conducted in classrooms via a nasal swab. What's interesting about this testing process is that it won't provide individual results. The samples will be pooled and run as a single test to identify the presence of COIVD-19 in a school.
It's believed that this process could help officials get ahead of any possible outbreaks inside a school, according to the state's health officials.
"Early detection like this is exactly what we need to keep students in classrooms, and COVID out," Pennsylvania's Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam said during Monday's news conference.
The Associated Press estimates that this program will cost the state $87 million, which will largely be covered by federal COVID-19 grants.
Similar programs are in place in other states including Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire.
As of today, by the way, Pennsylvania's Governor Tom Wolf has not issued a mandate that would require all students (and school employees) to wear masks inside the state's schools during the upcoming school year. Both New Jersey and Delaware, however, have issued a masking mandate in their classrooms for the start of the upcoming school year.