During a briefing on Wednesday, White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said that the Biden administration will make an additional 10 million tests available for schools every month, including 5 million rapid tests and 5 million PCR tests.
- So today, we're taking additional actions, including sending five million free rapid tests to schools each month and providing another five million lab-based tests each month. These 10 million additional tests available each month will allow schools to double the volume of testing they were performing in November.
The president is clear-- the nation's schools can and should be open. And we have given state and local leaders the resources to ensure they can be open.
- I wanted to ask a follow up about the school testing expansion. For these tests that you're making available for K to 12 schools, can you clarify-- would only public schools be eligible to receive those tests, or private schools as well? And can you offer any other detail on where the tests are coming from? Have you already inked contracts with certain companies? Or is that process still ongoing?
- Well, let me just step back and say that, you know, many schools have a dedicated supply of tests that they secured months ago thanks to the $10 billion I talked about in my opening comments that the ARP, the American Rescue Plan, gave to schools dedicated for testing. And there is significant lab capacity in this country.
So we're working with schools to take advantage of the lab capacity that is open in the country. CDC and the Department of Ed are adding resources to help schools identify testing providers and implement best practices. And the federal government is funding and strongly encouraging these testing programs.
In total, the 10 million additional tests that we'll send out each month will leverage existing contracting authorities at both HHS and CDC. And this will more than double the volume of testing that took place across the nation last year. We'll follow up, Sabrina, with exactly which schools qualify for these additional 10 million tests.