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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.

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, until April 18, 2021. In most cases, districts and schools will administer the tests using existing staff resources. Following the funded period, districts and schools may continue using pooled testing by purchasing the tests and any other accompanying testing materials, software, or support from a statewide contract using their own funding.

A district or school providing any type of in-person instruction, such as full in-person or hybrid instructional models or in-person services for high needs students, is invited to participate in this initiative. In addition, districts and schools that are currently in a remote instructional model but intend to return to in-person learning are also invited to participate. Private and parochial schools are not able to participate in the early launch, but they are able to purchase tests, materials, and software directly from testing services providers.

Questions can be directed to k12covid19testing@mass.gov.

Documents for Schools Participating

Districts and schools that are interested in participating should complete the Application to be an Authorized School. 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 portion.

Download Word Document
Pooled Testing in K-12 schools Memo, January 22, 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
Download Word Document
Pooled Binax PCR Model Standing Order February 10, 2021 (CIC Health, Project Beacon)
Download Word Document
Pooled Binax PCR Model Standing Order February 10, 2021 (Ginkgo)

Districts and schools using Abbott BinaxNOW for follow-up testing, should complete the Readiness Checklist found on the Abbott BinaxNOW section of the DESE webpage.

Sample Consent Forms for Pooled Testing
Download Word Document
Student Consent form — Ginkgo
Download Word Document
Student Consent form — CIC Health, Project Beacon
Download Word Document
Staff Consent form — Ginkgo
Download Word Document
Staff Consent form — CIC Health, Project Beacon
Download Word Document
Pooled Testing Letter for Parents
Download Word Document
Pooled Testing Letter for Parents Spanish

Additional Documents

Download Word Document
Pooled Testing FAQ — Updated 2/9/2021
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: February 24, 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.

Helene Bettencourt
Associate Commissioner
Phone: 781-338-3120

 
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.