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​July 15, 2021

A message to our school community partners sent on behalf of the Pennsylvania Department of Health: 

On June 23, 2021, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) sent a message on behalf of the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) regarding DOH’s plans to offer a free, voluntary COVID-19 school testing program to all K-12 schools in the commonwealth, apart from schools in Philadelphia County. To reiterate, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) received their own federal funding to implement a similar testing program.

DOH’s COVID-19 school testing program is expected to include several options for testing, including rapid tests, at no cost to the schools or families for the 2021-22 school year. Schools will be provided with various levels of staffing support as a part of this program to assist with the logistics, planning, and operations of any school-based testing.

DOH is working to finalize the free, voluntary school testing program prior to the start of the school year and will provide additional details and instructions on how schools can elect to participate.

In addition to DOH’s testing program, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) have expanded COVID-19 testing capacity at a national level. Through the federal Operation Expanded Testing (ET) program, free COVID-19 testing is being offered to all K-12 schools through a regional contractor through November 2021. Find additional information regarding this federal program on their website. While this program is separate from DOH’s testing program, it is another option for schools to consider.

For more information and resources regarding keeping schools safe during COVID-19, please visit the websites listed below:

CDC Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools
Open and Safe Schools
COVID-19 Educational Testing – Shah Family Foundation