The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has selected two medical testing vendors with experience operating K-12 testing programs, MAKO Medical and Concentric by Ginkgo, that will be available to provide COVID-19 testing services to all North Carolina schools. In accordance with CDC guidance, K-12 schools are strongly encouraged to participate in the StrongSchoolsNC: K-12 COVID-19 Testing Program and require students, teachers and staff wear masks indoors in all K-12 schools.
“School-based testing for COVID-19 is one of the key strategies to getting our children safely back into the classroom, and NCDHHS will help every North Carolina school get the resources they need to have a strong testing program,” said NCDHHS Chief Deputy Secretary Susan Gale Perry. “In addition to testing, the best way to ensure that students are in the classroom learning is to encourage everyone 12 and older to get vaccinated and wear masks when in our schools.”
School-based testing for COVID-19 can help protect students and staff from the spread of COVID-19 by helping to quickly detect the virus within our schools and reduce the risk of further transmission. Participation in the school testing program is available to all schools, public and private. The program is designed to support local flexibility in building a testing plan that meets local testing needs and CDC guidance.
In partnership with local schools, vendors are available to provide end-to-end testing services, including: acquiring testing supplies, receiving parent or guardian consent for a student to be tested, administering COVID-19 tests, interpreting test results and communicating results to individuals, parents and guardians, and, as applicable, local and state health departments.
To date, 44 school districts, 47 charter schools and 48 independent schools have opted to participate in the school testing program. Eighty-one public school districts and charters have chosen to receive financial support to hire additional school health team staff to support COVID-19 testing and other school-based health services. Schools are being onboarded to the testing program on a rolling basis and are encouraged to opt-in no later than Sept. 13, 2021.
K-12 schools are encouraged to review the StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit online.
The best protection against COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. Don’t wait to vaccinate. For more information about the vaccines and to find a vaccine location near you, visit myspot.nc.gov (English) or vacunate.nc.gov (Spanish).