Governor Ned Lamont announced that the State of Connecticut today distributed an allocation of 670,000 COVID-19 rapid self-tests to public and private K-12 schools and early childcare providers statewide.
The governor explained that this allocation is the first phase of his administration’s distribution of self-tests for schools and early childcare providers, and he anticipates additional allocations to be announced in the coming days as the state continues securing more tests from vendors.
A total of 620,000 of the tests were given to public and private K-12 schools, and the remaining 50,000 were given to early childcare providers. Schools and early childcare providers began picking up their assigned allotments from the state’s five distribution centers this morning.
The tests, which are intended to be used by both students and staff, were manufactured by iHealth Labs and FlowFlex. While use of the tests is at the discretion of schools and early childcare providers, the Connecticut State Department of Education provided school officials with guidance recommending that they be used:
- If a child or staff person exhibits symptoms and needs to be screened for COVID-19;
- If a child or staff member has a direct exposure to an individual with COVID-19; and
- If a class or program is experiencing multiple cases of COVID-19, a school may want to distribute tests to all students in that classroom if they have difficulty accessing tests.
In addition, students and staff who have had COVID-19 within the last 90 days do not need to test again.
“Keeping students in school in a safe and healthy learning environment has been one of my top priorities, and providing these self-tests to schools and early childcare providers will be another component in our efforts toward getting this done,” Governor Lamont said. “Amid a worldwide scramble to obtain tests, our administration is continuing to work with vendors to get as many tests here as possible, and we will continue working with our school districts to help fulfill these needs.”
“Testing is just one of the many mitigation strategies aimed at keeping our students learning in person, where they learn best and have access to social-emotional and mental health supports, nutritious meals, physical activity, and more,” Connecticut Education Commissioner Charlene M. Russell-Tucker said. “The Connecticut State Department of Education and our agency partners across the Lamont administration are actively working to maintain access to safe, healthy, and enriching in-person learning opportunities.”
“Childcare providers are on the frontline caring for and educating our children,” Connecticut Early Childhood Commissioner Beth Bye said. “These rapid home tests and N95 masks will help them protect child and teacher health. The Office of Early Childhood will continue its efforts to support child care providers who keep children healthy and safe and enable parents to get to work.”
“Our commitment to deploying self-tests to PreK-12 schools throughout Connecticut will help reduce the risk of transmission of this virus,” Connecticut Public Health Commissioner Dr. Manisha Juthani said. “Vaccination, masking and these self-tests will decrease the risk of severe disease and hospitalization from COVID-19. In addition to self-testing, we encourage parents to please get their child vaccinated.”