K-12 Testing Programs; Enhanced Exposure Testing; Test Expiration; Registering and Ordering Test Kits

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Oregon Department of Education - Oregon achieves - together
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To: Superintendents, Charter School Leaders, Private Schools, Special Education Directors, Principals, School Nurses, Communicable Disease Preparedness Liaisons, K-12 Public Information Officers
From: Kati Moseley, Resiliency Manager  
Date: Monday, Sept. 12, 2022 
Subject: K-12 Testing Programs; Enhanced Exposure Testing; Test Expiration; Registering and Ordering Test Kits 

Dear School Leaders, 

For the 2022-23 school year, OHA continues to offer several COVID-19 testing programs to best meet the individual needs of school communities, including diagnostic and screening programs. This communication provides critical information about these testing programs in one place, including updates and changes since the last school year.  

Diagnostic Testing 

Diagnostic testing includes testing of students and staff with symptoms or exposure to COVID-19. Schools may choose to offer testing on-site with Abbott BinaxNOW test kits or may offer testing to families at home with iHealth self-test kits.  

When and How to Use the Enhanced Exposure Testing Protocol 

Within the diagnostic testing program, OHA has made available a new protocol called enhanced exposure testing. This protocol is designed to identify additional cases and reduce onward transmission of COVID-19 within groups that include individuals at increased risk of severe disease (e.g., individuals with underlying medical conditions or immunocompromised status, individuals age 65 and older, and those who live with individuals at increased risk). There are two ways to implement this protocol:  

  1. Schools may offer testing once to all individuals in any cohort that includes individuals at increased risk of severe disease as soon as a case occurs within that cohort.  
  2. Schools may offer testing up to daily during the 10 days following exposure to all individuals in cohorts that include medically fragile individuals as soon as a case occurs within that cohort.  

This protocol works best when combined with implementation of additional mitigation measures, such as universal masking and self-monitoring for symptoms. ODE’s Communications Toolkit webpage includes two tools to communicate this protocol to families: 

The enhanced exposure testing protocol is another tool to ensure that Oregon’s schools provide equitable and inclusive access to in-person instruction for every student, every school day. Visit the Oregon COVID-19 Youth Testing program website for more details.   

Updated Consent Forms – Must be Used this School Year 

OHA has updated the consent forms for these programs. Please download and use the COVID-19 General Consent Form or COVID-19 Minor Testing Consent Form for the 2022-23 school year. These forms must be used for the 2022-23 school year 

What to do with Expired Tests 

OHA’s guidance for the school diagnostic testing program, which includes the enhanced exposure testing protocols, allows for the use of expired BinaxNOW tests after a quality control test has been performed. Because each test kit includes a built-in quality control system, OHA is confident that expired supplies remain functional. If the quality control test passes, the BinaxNOW test is ready to use. If the quality control test fails, you should discard the test and order additional supplies if needed via the online Abbott BinaxNOW Order Form. The iHealth tests have a 6-month total extension on the original date of expiration. 

Registering for Diagnostic Testing Programs and Ordering Test Kits 

Schools must be registered with OHA to offer both the BinaxNOW and iHealth self-test option. If your school was registered for OHA’s COVID-19 testing program last school year you are still registered with OHA for the 2022-23 school year and do not need to re-register.  

  • Please use this link to register for the Abbott BinaxNOW (on-site) program.   
  • Please use this link to register for the iHealth self-test program. 
  • If your school is already registered and you need more testing supplies, please use the forms below. 

Screening Testing  

Screening testing is the regular (weekly) testing of students and staff without symptoms or exposure to COVID-19. OHA, in collaboration with ODE, will continue to offer free screening testing for COVID-19 to all Oregon K-12 schools during the 2022-23 academic year. The program will be administered by regional laboratory partners and details will vary by region. Many partners are offering home delivery of test kits this year to reduce the burden of participation on schools. 

  • Please use this link to request additional information about the screening testing program in your area.   

Accessibility of Program 

School districts are required to make reasonable accommodations to ensure that all students, including those who experience disabilities, are able to access both Diagnostic Testing and Screening Testing programs. For students served through an IEP or Section 504 Plan, the appropriate team may need to meet to consider the need for accommodations that can enable access to these critical programs. 

If you have any questions about this update, please contact the ODE COVID-19 inbox at ODECOVID19@ode.oregon.gov. Thank you!