Utilization and Impact of Symptomatic and Exposure SARS-CoV-2 Testing in K-12 Schools.

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Publication Date



DOI: 10.1542/peds.2022-060352I


OBJECTIVES: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that schools can offer severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) diagnostic (on-demand) testing for students and staff with coronavirus disease 2019 symptoms or exposures. Data related to the uptake, implementation, and effect of school-associated on-demand diagnostic testing have not been described.

METHODS: The Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics Underserved Populations Return to School program provided resources to researchers to implement on-demand SARS-CoV-2 testing in schools. This study describes the strategies used and uptake among the different testing programs. Risk of positivity was compared for symptomatic and exposure testing during the δ and ο variant periods. We estimated the number of school absence days saved with school-based diagnostic testing.

RESULTS: Of the 16 eligible programs, 7 provided school-based on-demand testing. The number of persons that participated in these testing programs is 8281, with 4134 (49.9%) receiving >1 test during the school year. Risk of positivity was higher for symptomatic testing compared with exposure testing and higher during the ο variant predominant period compared with the δ variant predominant period. Overall, access to testing saved an estimated 13 806 absent school days.

CONCLUSIONS: School-based on-demand SARS-CoV-2 testing was used throughout the school year, and nearly half the participants accessed testing on more than 1 occasion. Future studies should work to understand participant preferences around school-based testing and how these strategies can be used both during and outside of pandemics.

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Suppl 1

MeSH Keywords

United States; Humans; SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; COVID-19 Testing; Acceleration


United States; Humans; SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; COVID-19 Testing; Acceleration

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