Expanded at-home testing for COVID-19 and information on COVID-19 testing programs for the 2022-2023 school year

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Oregon Department of Education - Oregon achieves - together

To: Superintendents, School Nurses, Reopening Advisors, Charter School Leaders, K-12 Public Information Officers
From: Kati Moseley, Ready Schools Resiliency Manager, Oregon Department of Education
Date: April 26, 2022
Re: Expanded at-home testing for COVID-19 and information on COVID-19 testing programs for the 2022-2023 school year

Dear District Leaders,

As you near the end of the 2021-2022 academic school year, ODE and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) are partnering to expand at-home COVID-19 testing for all children in Oregon’s public K-12 schools. Starting in May, OHA will be sending your District Offices at-home iHealth COVID-19 tests to distribute to your student population. This distribution represents one strategy to increase access to testing resources in our school communities, especially as students head into the summer break during which they may no longer have access to testing at school.

Each District will receive enough tests to distribute at least one test kit (containing two tests) to each student. School districts do not need to request tests. Students and their families are encouraged to use these tests if they develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or who have had a known exposure to COVID-19. OHA has flyers available in 13 languages (OHA testing page under “For recipients of iHealth home test kits”) that schools may send home with students. Customizable flyers are available here in English and here in Spanish.

We encourage creativity and flexibility in how your district chooses to distribute the tests to students across all grade levels, recognizing that distribution strategies across elementary school, middle school, and high school may vary.

Additionally, ODE and OHA are pleased to announce that we will continue to offer the K-12 diagnostic testing program during the 2022-2023 school year. If you are currently enrolled in the program, you will remain enrolled and may offer testing throughout summer programming and into the next year. If you are currently enrolled in the program and would like to disenroll and return your tests, please contact OHA at schooltesting.covid@dhsoha.state.or.us.

ODE and OHA will also continue to offer the K-12 student and staff screening programs for the 2022-2023 school year through four regional laboratory partners—OHSU, Santiam Hospital, University of Oregon, and Willamette Valley Toxicology. The logistics of these programs will remain the same; school districts will continue to work with their assigned regional laboratory partner for student testing and staff will continue to have access to testing by mail. Schools may also offer these testing programs over the summer for summer programming. If you would like more information about either screening program, please contact OHA at COVIDscreening.schools@dhsoha.state.or.us or visit the OHA K-12 COVID-19 Testing Website here.

All voluntary testing programs will continue to be provided at no cost to students or schools. ODE and OHA strongly encourages all schools to participate in these programs through the 2022-2023 school year. The goal of these programs is to help maximize in-person learning days for all students and offer critical access to testing to reduce transmission of COVID-19 in our schools.