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Massachusetts to provide at-home tests for schools

At-home COVID-19 tests. (Photo Illustration by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
At-home COVID-19 tests. (Photo Illustration by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Massachusetts is making at-home rapid coronavirus tests available to schools so staff and students can test weekly and schools can stay open for in-person learning, education officials said Tuesday.

Schools that opt in to the system can discontinue contact tracing and the test-and-stay program, according to a joint statement from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Department of Public Health.

The new program will allow school health staff to spend more time and resources identifying symptomatic people and focusing on other aspects of COVID-19 management, the agencies said.

“This new option will give Massachusetts school districts more flexibility and more resources in COVID-19 testing that have the most immediate impact to keep schools open," the statement said.

Schools will be able to start opting-in to the program this week for staff and will receive tests starting next week. Schools will receive tests for students whose families opt-in during the week of Jan. 31.

The tests will come from the supply of 26 million at-home rapid antigen being purchased by the state.

The departments also announced Tuesday that data collected over the past few months from the test-and stay and pooled testing programs show very low transmission rates, meaning that schools remain safe.

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