State to supply schools with COVID-19 tests

The Ohio Department of Education in cooperation with the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Educational Service Center Association last week announced plans to provide an estimated 200,000 Abbott BinaxNOW Home Tests to Ohio public and private schools as another means of providing a safe learning environment for students, in addition to staff vaccinations and continued adherence to safety protocols like surface cleaning and facial coverings.

The state purchased the tests and will work closely with Ohio’s network of educational service centers to distribute them to schools and districts.

The 15-minute BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card Home Test has received FDA Emergency Use Authorization and is packaged with instructions to access a telehealth professional who will oversee test administration, prescription writing and result reporting. Schools and districts are encouraged to work with their local departments of health to determine the best strategies for using the tests at their locations. It would be appropriate to use the tests for symptomatic students, teachers and staff members.

“It was important to get these tests in the hands of school leaders because we know how important it is for students to be able to continue learning in their classrooms,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. “In addition to the staff vaccinations, masks and physical-distancing practices that Ohio’s schools already employ so well, these tests will be a big help in our efforts to keep students, staff and communities safe.”

“Convenient access to testing is one more tool in our toolbox as we all work together to help slow the spread of COVID-19,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria. “Even with these tests and school staff members having the opportunity to be vaccinated, it still will be important to continue protective strategies like mask wearing, frequent hand-washing and maintaining social distancing.”

Schools and districts should contact their regional educational service centers for more information on how to obtain tests.