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Coronavirus/COVID-19

Pooled Testing in K-12 Schools

In preparation for the start of the 2020-2021 school year, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) released a series of guidance documents outlining the key health and safety requirements for in-person learning. These mitigation requirements include rigorous hygiene and handwashing, use of masks/face coverings, physical distancing, reducing interaction between groups, and staying home when sick. In the winter, DESE, in collaboration with the Department of Public Health (DPH), introduced COVID-19 screening testing using a pooled strategy in K-12 public schools and approved special education schools as an additional mitigation strategy, the first program of its kind nationwide.

Pooled testing involves mixing several test samples together in a "batch" or "pool" and then testing the pooled sample with a PCR test for detection of SARS-CoV-2. Participating districts and schools will receive the test kits, support from a testing service provider, and the testing software to track results, all at no cost to them, through the end of the 2020-2021 school year, including summer school. In most cases, districts and schools will administer the tests using existing staff resources.

Any district or school, including private and parochial schools, providing in-person instruction is invited to participate in this initiative.

Questions can be directed to k12covid19testing@mass.gov.

Documents for Schools Participating

All districts and schools that are interested in joining the state-funded pooled testing program must complete an Authorized School application to indicate their preferred pooled testing provider and upload other required documents. Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis. We encourage districts and schools to apply as soon as possible to take full advantage of the state-funded program.

Download Word Document
Pooled Testing Memo, April 13, 202, updated May 24, 2021
View External Link
Application to be an Approved School
Download Excel Document
Application to be an Approved School — School Spreadsheet
Download Word Document
Statement of Assurances — Updated May 24, 2021
Download Word Document
Pooled Testing, Abbott BinaxNOW, PCR Model Standing order, April 13, 2021

Districts and schools using Abbott BinaxNOW for follow-up testing, may complete the preconditions for test distribution in the Authorized School application. Protocols for use of Abbott BinaxNOW can be found on the Abbott BinaxNOW section of the DESE website.

Sample Consent Forms for Pooled Testing

Download Word Document
Student Consent form, April 13, 2021
Download Word Document
Staff Consent form, April 13, 2021
Download Word Document
Pooled Testing Letter for Parents
Download Word Document
Pooled Testing Letter for Parents Spanish

Frequently Asked Questions

Download Word Document
Pooled Testing FAQ — Updated April 13, 2021

Additional Documents

Watch Video
Updates on K-12 Testing Webinar, May 26, 2021
Download PowerPoint File
Pooled Testing Implementation Webinar Slides, May 26, 2021
Watch Video
Pooled Testing Phase II Webinar, April 13, 2021
Download PowerPoint File
Pooled Testing Implementation Webinar Slides, April 13, 2021
Watch Video
Pooled Testing Implementation Webinar Recording, March 29, 2021
Download PowerPoint File
Pooled Testing Implementation Webinar Slides, March 29, 2021
Download PowerPoint File
Pooled Testing Implementation Webinar Slides, March 12, 2021
Watch Video
Pooled Testing Implementation Strategies Webinar Recording, February 10, 2021
Download PowerPoint File
Pooled Testing in K-12 Schools Webinar Slides, February 10, 2021
Watch Video
Pooled Testing Implementation Strategies Webinar Recording, January 29, 2021
Download PowerPoint File
Implementing Pooled Testing Strategies Webinar Slides, January 29, 2021
Watch Video
Abbott BinaxNOW Informational Webinar Recording, January 26, 2021
Watch Video
Pooled Testing Informational Webinar Recording, January 22, 2021
Download PowerPoint File
Pooled Testing in K-12 Schools Webinar Slides, January 22, 2021
Watch Video
Pooled Testing Webinar Recording, January 12, 2021
Download PowerPoint File
Pooled Testing Initiative Webinar Slides, January 12, 2021
Download Word Document
Pooled Testing in K-12 Schools Memo January 8, 2021
View HTML Page
Abbott BinaxNOW Preconditions and Readiness Checklist

Last Updated: June 4, 2021

Contact Us

Parents and guardians questions can be directed to COVID19K12ParentInfo@mass.gov

District and school staff's questions can be directed to: Reopeningk12@mass.gov

MTEL questions can be directed to TestHelp@doe.mass.edu

Questions related to educator licensure in Massachusetts, please call the Licensure Call Center: 781-338-6600, Hours: Monday-Friday 9am–1pm & 2pm–5pm.

 
Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370

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Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.