As students and teachers come back to school buildings for another school year, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction continues to work with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to ensure a safe return to classrooms.
In addition to a number of guidance documents for school staff to use to plan for the school year, the two agencies have worked together to ensure testing for COVID-19 is easily accessible to schools. The DHS has worked to offer convenient school-based testing for teachers, staff, students, and their families for the 2021-22 school year. Regular testing for COVID-19 can help support schools in making decisions about efforts to protect the health and well-being of those inside their buildings.
The federally-funded program is free and is designed to simplify testing processes for schools. It is voluntary and is available for public schools, private schools, and independent charter schools at any time throughout the school year. Schools opting into the testing program must obtain permission from a students’ parents/guardians.
The program allows K-12 schools and districts to choose a specific type of testing that best suits the needs of their student body. It includes testing for individuals with symptoms, those with close contact to infected persons, routine testing for those who are unvaccinated, and large-scale testing following an outbreak in a school.
For more information on the 2021-22 K-12 COVID-19 Testing Program, visit https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/testing-schools.htm. Additional information on DPI’s back-to-school guidance can be found at https://dpi.wi.gov/sites/default/files/imce/sspw/pdf/DPI_Infection_Control_and_Mitigation_Measures_for_Schools.pdf.