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White House announces $10B effort to upgrade COVID-19 testing in schools

COVID-19 test schools
Posted at 11:30 AM, Mar 17, 2021

The White House COVID-19 response team on Wednesday announced that the Biden administration will spend $10 billion to develop COVID-19 testing programs in local school districts.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which will administer the program, will offer guidance and technical assistance to states and districts with the hopes of detecting asymptomatic cases of the virus in students, teachers and staff members.

“We want schools to have the resources so they can add this layer of mitigation," said Carole Johnson, the testing coordinator for the COVID-19 response team.

The funding for developing the testing programs was freed up by the American Rescue Plan, the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package President Joe Biden signed into law last week.

As part of the effort, the CDC on Wednesday released comprehensive guidance regarding approved COVID-19 tests, which helps districts which tests are best used for certain situations.

The Response Team on Wednesday also discussed a $2.25 billion effort to boost testing efforts in high-risk and underserved communities. Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, the head of the Biden administration’s health equity task force, also announced an effort to expand COVID-19 therapeutics to more Americans.

“Everyone in America should have equal opportunity to be as healthy as possible,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky said in a statement. “This investment will be monumental in anchoring equity at the center of our nation’s COVID-19 response—and is a key step forward in bringing resources and focus to health inequities that have for far too long persisted in our country.”