COVID-19 Testing in K-12 Schools and Child Care
MDH is in the process of updating this page to reflect changes to the child care COVID-19 testing program. Updates will be posted here when available. For any questions about the testing program, contact email@example.com.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for COVID-19 prevention in Schools, Child Care, and Colleges outlines recommended testing, vaccination, and mitigation strategies to help keep children, students, educators, and staff healthy. Schools and Child Care COVID-19: Best Practice Recommendationsoutlines guidance for isolation and quarantine. The state is working to ensure children, students, and staff have the resources they need to access COVID-19 testing. This page provides information on state-provided test kits and resources for schools interested in developing their own on-site testing program.
2022-2023 school testing program
The purpose of the testing program is to increase access to testing for Minnesota's children and educators. The CDC provides additional information on the value of COVID-19 testing, at What to Know About COVID-19 Testing in Schools.
The State of Minnesota is providing at-home test kits to K-12 schools for use by staff, students, children, and their families. Fulfillment of test orders depends on available supply. MDH does not guarantee test orders will be fulfilled.
MDH COVID-19 test options for K-12 Schools
- Available only for schools.
- Tests are available for students ages 2 years and older, staff, and families.
- These Individual rapid antigen test kits contain two tests that are intended to be sent home with students.
- These tests are intended for use at home by students and staff who have symptoms.
- Pooled PCR nasal swab or saliva tests that can be used as a screening tool to identify asymptomatic cases.
- Select the link above for pool testing information.
Schools should encourage students and staff who receive tests to carefully review and follow the manufacturer instructions included with the test.
Resources for setting up alternative testing programs
In addition to the testing options listed above, schools may use the Master Contract Program. This program contains options for testing services, including pop-up testing; testing in schools; at-home testing; bulk ordering of testing kits; lab processing for tests; and test reporting services. More information is available at COVID-19 Testing Master Contract Program.
Schools that are interested in setting up their own testing programs or initiatives should consider the planning resources below to help with development and implementation and communicating with their school communities.
Program planning, development, and communication
- Open and Safe Schools: School COVID-19 Testing Toolkit
- The Rockefeller Foundation: Covid-19 Testing in K-12 Settings: A Playbook for Educators and Leaders
- CDC: School Testing for COVID-19: Communication Toolkit for Schools
Reporting of test results
Schools providing on-site testing are responsible for reporting positive lab test results to the state of Minnesota. Refer to COVID-19 Test Reporting Requirements for more information.
Additionally, schools that learn of a COVID-19 case must report it to the Minnesota Department of Health, regardless of where testing is performed. Refer to How to report COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2 virus for more information.
A Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) Certificate of Waiver is required when a school chooses to administer COVID-19 testing or to assist with interpreting COVID-19 test results, even when the test is designated for over-the-counter use. For more information, visit Minnesota Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA).