School-Testing School Testing for COVID-19

School Testing for COVID-19

​​​​​​​​​​​School Testing Overview​​​

In 2023-24, schools can continue to partner with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH)  for testing support. Please see Guidance for K-12 Schools and Child Care Settings to Mitigate the Spread of Communicable Disease, 2023 -2024 School Year and corresponding Q&A for more information:

CDPH School Testing Strategies

​​The ability for symptomatic individuals to test and identify the presence of COVID-19 quickly is critical. To learn more about the recommended testing strategies please refer to CDPH Isolation Guidance and the COVID-19 Testing – How to Get Tested.

For more information on COVID-19 school related guidance and updates please visit the Schools Hub.

CDPH Test Types &​ C​onsiderations

The State of California has testing guidance which details the different types of testing, including differences between diagnostic testing, screening testing, post-exposure testing and pre-entry testing.

Federal resources for Local Education Agencies (LEAs): 

The Education Department (ED) announced this partnership in a letter to Local Education Agencies (LEAs) Regarding the COVID-19 Testing Supply Program on November 29, 2023. Interested school districts can register for the COVID-19 Testing Supply Program. It takes approximately 7-10 business days for ED to process each district's request to register for the program. ​

At-Home Test Expir​​​​ation D​ates

Please monitor your test inventory and regularly check expiration dates. The printed expiration date may not reflect the actual expiration date as the FDA has formally extended multiple OTC test brands. Please always check with the FDA for at-home (OTC) FDA expiration date extensions. CDPH recommends replacing tests that are older than the extended expiration dates (found on the FDA website), but if newer tests are not easily available, you may use an expired test as long as the internal control remains valid.​

Educating Your School Community

Communicating with the school community around testing is important to the success of your testing program. Review our video of how children self-swab. Find more resources such as videos to share with parents, sample communication emails and a back-to-school agreement on our partner's website Safely Opening Schools. Share information with parents, staff and teachers on how to administer at-home tests.  Resources are available to help educate your school community on how to use and administer at-home tests in multiple languages.

Outbreak Re​​sponse

Local health departments and local education agencies (LEAs) are encouraged to keep rapidly accessible at-home antigen tests available to assist K-12 schools with campus outbreaks. Local health departments can also provide specific advice if guidance is needed.

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Originally published on August 4, 2022