- The Oklahoma Schools COVID-19 Prevention Program, also referred to as the Oklahoma State Department of Education Project 723 , offers free COVID-19 testing to students and staff. Participating schools are also eligible to receive financial support to implement additional mitigation strategies.
In-person learning is important for our students and their families. Together, we can keep schools open and kids learning safely in the classroom. Based on the CDC's current K-12 guidance, it is recommended that schools consider an approach to screening testing that focuses on high-risk activities during high COVID-19 Community Levels or in response to an outbreak. This grant program will offer free, in-school COVID-19 testing for students who opt in with a guardian’s permission. People with COVID-19, especially children and teens, may not have symptoms but can still spread the virus, so screening testing helps find infections before they can spread to others. In partnership with the Oklahoma State Department of Education, the Oklahoma Schools COVID-19 Prevention Program is open for enrollment on a rolling basis. Learn more! An additional benefit is participating schools are also eligible to receive reimbursement for other supplies to implement additional mitigation strategies.
Because schools are generally not considered high-risk congregate settings quarantine is no longer recommended for people who are exposed to COVID-19. However, during high COVID-19 Community Levels, K-12 schools can prepare in advance by implementing a screening testing program for students and staff during the following high-risk activities:
Close contact sports
Theater or indoor events
And during key times of the year and before/after large events, such as:
- Group travel
- When returning from holiday or fall/spring breaks
Although the program will vary slightly within each school district, the following will be offered in various capacities:
Diagnostic testing is intended to identify current infection in individuals and is performed when a person has signs or symptoms consistent with COVID-19. An individual may be asymptomatic but could have had a recent known or suspected exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Screening testing identifies individuals with COVID-19 who do not have symptoms or a known or suspected exposure. Recommendations outlined for the COVID-19 Community Levels are the same for schools and ECE programs The CDC recommends implementing screening testing for students and staff for high-risk activities (for example, close contact sports, band, choir, theater); at key times in the year, for example before/after large events (such as prom, tournaments, group travel); and when returning from breaks (such as, holidays, spring break, at the beginning of the school year). Additional community-level indicators that might be considered for use in decision-making about COVID-19 prevention are pediatric hospitalizations, results from wastewater surveillance, or other local information. Working together with local health officials, school administrators can consider local conditions and factors when deciding to implement testing strategies, such as rates of absenteeism of students and staff or the presence of students or staff who are at risk of getting very sick with COVID-19, such as those with moderate or severe immunocompromise or complex medical conditions.
This program will offer free, in-school COVID-19 testing for students who opt in with a guardian’s permission, as well as for school staff who sign a consent form.
Resources for Parents In Your School District
Our purpose for the Oklahoma Schools COVID-19 Prevention Program is to maximize in-person learning while keeping Oklahoma kids safe in the classroom. Sharing this information with parents and encouraging strong participation will help us identify cases quickly and early, which can help us stop an outbreak before it happens. The program is optional and requires permission from a parent or guardian.
View resources to distribute to parents here with details about the program and opt-in information.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Based on the CDC's current K-12 guidance, testing for COVID-19 during high COVID-19 Community Levels can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and help keep our schools open for in-person learning. Many people with COVID-19, especially children and teens, do not have symptoms while infected but can still spread the virus.
- No, taking a COVID-19 test is optional.
- If you would like to enroll in testing, you must fill out a consent form for your child.
- Students will not be tested without both the student and parent/guardian giving their consent.
- No, a student’s test result will be shared in a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant manner either by calling or emailing the parent/guardian. The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) does require daily reporting of COVID-19 test results, but this reporting does not include any HIPAA-related health information related to specific students.
- No, a student’s test results will be shared in a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant manner either by calling or emailing the parent/guardian contact. The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) does require daily reporting of COVID-19 test results, but that does not include any HIPAA-related health information related to specific students.
- Parents/guardians can opt their child(ren) into the program by filling out the consent form located on the Oklahoma Schools COVID-19 Prevention Program website and returning it to the school nurse or appropriate point of contact at the school.
- The COVID-19 rapid antigen tests used by schools participating in the grant program will be administered either by the school nurse or other authorized school personnel. Rapid antigen tests are a less invasive mid-nasal swab test. The specimen will be dipped into a solution, transferred to a small reservoir, and test results will be available within 15 minutes.
Schools participating in the grant program will use COVID-19 rapid antigen tests.
Test results are typically available within 15 minutes.
- The Oklahoma State Department of Health recommends that you follow the CDC’s current isolation guidance. If you would like additional testing to confirm your child’s results, you can get a COVID-19 PCR test through a health care provider, laboratory, or your local County Health Department. However, additional testing is NOT required. If you choose to get a PCR test at your local County Health Department, please call ahead to schedule the test.
- Keeping students at home when they are infected with COVID-19 (isolation) is critical to controlling the transmission of COVID-19, even if they are not experiencing symptoms or are fully vaccinated. The Oklahoma State Department of Health recommends that you follow the CDC’s current isolation guidance.
- Quarantine is no longer recommended for people who are exposed to COVID-19 except in certain high-risk congregate settings such as correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and nursing homes. In schools, which are generally not considered high-risk congregate settings, people who are exposed to COVID-19 should follow recommendations to wear a well-fitting mask and get tested.
For a negative test result: Notification of one’s test result will be determined by the process that the school has in place.
For a positive test result: Notification of one’s test result will be determined by the process that the school has in place. Additional notification may be provided by the Oklahoma State Department of Health through its automated COVID case investigation and contact management system.
- Grant requirements for schools
- COVID-19 testing and ordering guidance for schools
- FAQs for schools and administrators
- What to do after your student receives COVID-19 testresults
- FAQs for parents and guardians
- How to opt your student in to COVID-19 testing
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