A COVID-19 Testing Preference Study in Schools.

Document Type


Publication Date



DOI: 10.1542/peds.2022-060352H


OBJECTIVES: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies in-school COVID-19 testing as a key mitigation strategy to protect students and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. Both nasal and saliva samples are acceptable, but existing school guidance does not state a preferred test method.

METHODS: From May 2021 through July 2021, we performed a randomized, crossover study in kindergarten through 12th grade (K-12) schools to evaluate student and staff preference for self-collected nasal or saliva testing. Participants performed both collection types and participated in a standardized questionnaire assessing the preferred method.

RESULTS: A total of 135 students and staff participated. Staff, middle school, and high school students preferred the nasal swab (80/96, 83%), whereas elementary students were mixed (20/39, 51% preferred saliva). Reasons reported for preferring the nasal swab included being faster and easier. Reasons reported for preferring saliva included being easier and more fun. Despite their preference, 126 (93%) and 109 (81%) participants would take the nasal swab or saliva test again, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: The anterior nasal test was the preferred testing method by students and staff, although preference varied by age group. Willingness to perform both tests again in the future was high. Identifying the preferred testing modality is important to increase acceptance and participation in COVID-19 in-school testing programs.

Journal Title





Suppl 1

MeSH Keywords

United States; Humans; Child; COVID-19 Testing; COVID-19; Cross-Over Studies; Pandemics; Schools


COVID-19 Testing; COVID-19; Cross-Over Studies; Pandemics; Schools

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