MADISON – Wisconsin has received more than $175 million in federal funding to develop a program to support school-based COVID-19 testing for teachers, staff and students. The funds, coming through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, were announced Tuesday by the Wisconsin Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) and Gov. Tony Evers.
DHS will be working closely with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to develop a testing program that optimizes the state’s existing COVID-19 testing infrastructure and designing the program in light of recommendations from the CDC. A survey went out to school districts and private schools last week to gather input on what kind of testing programs would best suit their needs. Testing would be offered on a voluntary basis and would not be mandated.
“Testing has been, and will continue to be, a critical part of Wisconsin’s COVID-19 response,” DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake said in a news release. “This funding will allow us to implement a COVID-19 testing program for schools that supports the safety and wellbeing of teachers, staff members, and students throughout the state.”
Schools will be able to choose from different testing options for the spring and summer and further options will be available in the fall for the 2021-2022 school year. More information will be available as plans for those options take shape.