State to provide Wisconsin schools with free COVID testing next school year

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and the state’s Department of Health Services are hoping to make it easier for schools to carry out coronavirus tests when they return in the fall.

DHS joined the governor’s office in announcing enhanced testing support for the 2021-2022 school year Tuesday. The department says the new program will connect school districts with local testing partners, who will then help handle the school’s on-site COVID-19 testing for teachers, staff, students and families during the next school year.

The goal is to make testing more available for schools so they can make more informed decisions on how to manage COVID-19 and keep running safely in the fall, since COVID vaccines have not yet been approved for kids under the age of 12.

“Until COVID-19 vaccines are available to students of all ages, testing remains one of our best tools to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our schools,” Gov. Evers said in a statement. “This testing program supports schools so our educators and staff can focus on what they do best – teaching our kids.”

School districts will choose the type of COVID-19 that works best for them, whether that is testing people with symptoms or who have had close contact with a positive case, testing people who attend or participate in school events or activities, routine testing for unvaccinated people, or large-scale testing when there’s been an outbreak in the school.

The program is voluntary, meaning schools do not have to participate, and is free of charge.

DHS has more information on the testing program on its website.