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

Jennifer E. Schuster, Tyler R. Erickson, Jennifer L. Goldman, Daniel K. Benjamin, M. Alan Brookhart, Stephen Dewhurst, Alex Fist, John Foxe, Maya Godambe, Lisa Gwynn, Susan M. Kiene, Dana Keener Mast, Corinne McDaniels-Davidson, Jason G. Newland, Eyal Oren, Rangaraj Selvarangan, Nidhi Shinde, Tyler Walsh, Treymayne Watterson, Martin ZandKanecia O. Zimmerman, Ibukunoluwa C. Kalu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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 d and o 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 o variant predominant period compared with the d 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.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2022060352I
StatePublished - Jul 2023


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