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COVID-19 testing expanded to elementary schools in Illinois

Illinois health officials with the department of public health have expanded COVID-19 testing...
Illinois health officials with the department of public health have expanded COVID-19 testing to elementary schools. Testing is currently available for middle and high schools and community colleges.(KLTV)
Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 1:04 PM CDT
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Ill. (KWQC) - Illinois health officials with the department of public health have expanded COVID-19 testing to elementary schools. Testing is currently available for middle and high schools and community colleges.

“As we move ever closer to returning to how we lived pre-pandemic, it is critically important that we identify cases of COVID-19 as quickly as possible to help prevent outbreaks, which could ultimately lead to new surges,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.  “Offering testing in schools, along with vaccination and masking, can help protect students, staff, and teachers when in-person learning resumes.”

The department announced the expansion to no-cost and low-cost COVID-19 testing to elementary schools. Schools can choose to utilize the saliva-based covidSHIELD test developed by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The covidSHIELD test detects the virus quickly according to officials.

Schools and IDPH will receive test results within 24 hours of specimens reaching a SHIELD Illinois lab.

You can read more from their announcement below.

“Testing is free for schools in districts that are predominantly low-income and have experienced high rates of COVID-19 infection. Other schools will receive a discounted fee of $10 per test. The classification of low-income school districts is determined by the Illinois State Board of Education’s evidence-based funding criteria.

Last month, IDPH expanded covidSHIELD testing to middle and high schools across Illinois outside the city of Chicago.

IDPH is utilizing federal funds from the CARES Act and American Rescue Plan to offer the rapid results testing.  The effort is part of the $225 million agreement between the University of Illinois System and the state aimed at proactively identifying asymptomatic individuals to prevent spread of COVID-19.

“I am pleased to see the protective screen that our covidSHIELD test-and-trace system provides being extended now to elementary schools around Illinois. I am deeply thankful to the Illinois Department of Public Health for its vision in making this safe, effective and efficient system available to so many students and teachers,” University of Illinois System President Tim Killeen said. “Providing this kind of service to the state is at the heart of our land-grant mission.”

Schools looking for more information on testing or to sign up for covidSHIELD testing can contact Beth Heller at bheller@uillinois.edu.”

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