Schools across the U.S. will soon be able to order free COVID tests

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Schools across the country will soon have the ability to order free COVID tests, courtesy of the Biden administration, the U.S. Department of Education announced Wednesday. The tests will be available starting in December, and schools can use them to supply students, families, staff and larger school communities.

“These self-tests are easy to use and can play an important role in preventing the spread of COVID-19,” said Roberto Rodriguez, the Education Department’s assistant secretary for planning, evaluation and policy development.

“We encourage schools to make use of these free resources to safeguard students, parents, and staff throughout the 2023-24 school year.”

COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test
COVID-19 antigen rapid test kits are pictured.

Tom Williams / Getty Images


Over 1.6 billion COVID-19 tests have been sent directly to homes, schools, long-term care facilities, health centers and food banks over the last two years through federal distribution programs, according to the Education Department.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, school closures related to health and safety concerns remained a hot-button issue. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has even touted his record of keeping Florida schools open during coronavirus while on the 2024 campaign trail.

COVID-related emergency room visits from adolescents spiked at the start of the school year and new COVID variants are being reported, even as President Biden officially declared the end of the pandemic emergency in May. 

The release also says that 4 million COVID tests are being distributed each week — a number expected to increase as school districts take advantage of the new program, which will draw from an existing stockpile of hundreds of millions of tests.

The Biden administration also announced this month that Americans can order another round of free COVID tests to their homes. The USPS said the four additional tests began shipping on Monday, with the Department of Health and Human Services reporting that 14 million American households have requested tests so far.

Households that did not order their first batch of four free tests after ordering reopened earlier this fall will be able to place two orders from the USPS, for a total of eight free rapid antigen COVID-19 tests.



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