WH COVID Response Coordinator: Administration Sending 5 Million Free Rapid Tests to Schools Each Month

By Melanie Arter | January 13, 2022 | 11:33am EST
Jeff Zients, the White House's Covid-19 response czar, speaks as White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci listen during a press briefing at the White House where they spoke about a pause in issuing the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine on April 13, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Jeff Zients, the White House's Covid-19 response czar, speaks as White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci listen during a press briefing at the White House where they spoke about a pause in issuing the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine on April 13, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) – White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients announced Wednesday that the Biden administration is sending 5 million free rapid tests to schools each month and providing another 5 million lab-based tests.

“First, I want to discuss next steps — new steps we’re taking to increase access to COVID testing for K-through-12 students, teachers, and school staff. We know in-person learning is what’s best for our children, so keeping schools open safely is a top priority, and we know what works to keep schools open: vaccinations, masks, better ventilation, distancing, and testing,” he said during a White House COVID response press briefing.

Zients pointed out that that the administration provided $130 billion in the American Rescue Plan to schools to implement “proven prevention measures,” and an additional $10 billion was allocated to support COVID testing in schools.

“In fact, today, more than 96 percent of K-through-12 schools are open for in-person learning. That’s up from just 46 percent a year ago. The Omicron variant is driving unprecedented demand for testing, so we need to ensure school leaders have the support they need to meet that demand,” he said.

“So today, we’re taking additional actions, including sending 5 million free rapid tests to schools each month and providing another 5 million lab-based tests each month. These 10 million additional tests available each month will allow schools to double the volume of testing they were performing in November,” Zients announced.

“The president is clear: The nation’s schools can and should be open, and we have given state and local leaders the resources to ensure they can be open,” he said.
Meanwhile, Biden announced Thursday that he is buying another 500 million at-home rapid tests to distribute for free, for a total to 1 billion at-home tests purchased by the administration. The first 500 million tests will be sent to people who request them through a website and phone hotline that will be set up next week. 

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