$119 Million now available for schools to ramp up COVID testing

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – $119 million is being made available for Oklahoma schools to regularly test their students and staff with funding from the CDC.

In a call held by the State Department of Education on Wednesday, State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister detailed the grant to superintendents. The funding will be used for surveillance testing, or regular testing for individuals who aren’t experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. Schools can receive anywhere from $50,000 to $1,000,000 in funding, depending on the student population size.

This grant can be used to provide asymptomatic testing or to use the tests to help reduce the amount of days a student has to spend in quarantine.

Deputy Superintendent of Finance Kathy Dodd says that funding can also be used to hire nurses or additional health workers.

“You can add additional personnel to your team that can help with contact tracing that can help with entering the data,” she said.

In order to apply for the grant, districts must implement a testing program focused on students and submit a plan on how they will test ten percent of their enrollment every month. They then must report all results to the state infection reporting system, or SIRS.

Schools can fill that ten percent by random tests or by targeting a specific group that could be more susceptible to COVID transmission or where masks aren’t practical. They can also include testing for adults as well as students.

“If you’re in choir or band or football or in football or another fall sport you may choose to focus on students in that scenario,” Dodd said. “This is definitely a grant aimed at student testing. But that 10 percent can be a combination of student and adults.”

Grants will be funded on a first come first served basis. For a list of full FAQs on the grant, click here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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