Fri. Jan 21st, 2022

The initiative comes as the White House faces increasing criticism over long queues and stock shortages for testing.

The administration of President Joe Biden has announced that it will provide an additional 10 million coronavirus tests per month to schools across the country in an effort to closures occur amid a rise in cases fueled by the Omicron variant.

The White House said Wednesday that from January, it will make available five million lab-based PCR tests and five million rapid tests monthly to alleviate stock shortages and to help schools reopen safely after the holidays.

The additional support will contribute to the approximately $ 10bn devoted to school-based testing authorized by the COVID-19 Enlightenment Act and approximately $ 130bn earmarked in that Act to keep children in school, according to the administration.

In a news release on Wednesday, the White House said the new measures are expected to double the monthly number of tests taken in schools compared to the amount given in November 2021, the most recent available data.

The administration “will do everything in its power to keep schools safe for all students,” the White House said, adding that about 96 percent of U.S. schools remained open in January 2022, up from 46 percent in January 2021.

The new initiative came as the White House faced increasing criticism long queues and stock shortages for testing.

It also comes after the state’s third largest public school system, in Chicago, closed for days after an impasse between teachers and officials over reopening policies.

“We have been very clear, in public and in private, that we want to open schools,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.

She added the massive amount of funding for schools as proof from the administration which ensured “we were prepared and have resources needed to address whatever may occur in the pandemic.”

Yet the new crop of tests is enough to cover only a small fraction of the more than 50 million students and educators in the country’s schools.

The administration says the new tests will fill critical shortages in schools that are having difficulty obtaining tests through existing federal funding or that are facing outbreaks of the more transferable COVID-19 variant.

The administration is also working to target other federally supported testing sites to support school testing programs, including locating Federal Emergency Management Agency sites at schools.

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will release new guidelines later this week to help schools implement “test-to-stay” policies, in which schools use rapid tests to monitor the close contact of children being tested. has, to check. positive in the classroom.

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