COVID-19 Testing Program

Following a competitive procurement process, EOHHS and DESE are making diagnostic and routine (weekly) COVID pooled testing services available at no cost to participating districts and schools through the end of the 2021-22 school year, under a single contract with the testing provider CIC Health.

Districts and schools may choose between the below options when completing the Authorized School Application. Participating districts and schools are welcome to change or add testing options throughout the school year; however, to minimize the impact of quarantining due to exposure to COVID-19, it is strongly recommended districts participate in both the diagnostic and Routine COVID Pooled Testing components of the COVID-19 testing program.

Diagnostic Testing:

  • Symptomatic Testing: (for when individuals present symptoms while at school; individuals should not go to school if experiencing symptoms while at home): Shallow nasal swab samples are collected at school using the BinaxNOW rapid antigen test or another approved diagnostic test.

  • "Test and Stay" (close contact testing): Shallow nasal swab samples are collected at school using the BinaxNOW rapid antigen test or another approved diagnostic test. Tests are administered daily from the first day of exposure for at least five (5) days. (Please note, the duration of Test and Stay is seven (7) days with testing occurring on school days. Districts should consult the Protocols for Responding to COVID-19 Scenarios for the implementation protocols for this program.)

Routine COVID Pooled Testing:

Please note, following feedback from families and caregivers, districts are encouraged to use the phrase "routine COVID safety checks" to describe what we previously called "pooled tests" when communicating with families/caregivers.

  • Routine COVID Pooled Testing and School-Based Follow-Up Testing: Shallow nasal swab samples are collected at school and put into a single tube (maximum of 10 samples per tube). If a group tests positive, individual Follow-Up testing with a second sample collection occurs at the school with BinaxNOW and/or individual PCR testing, as necessary.

  • Routine COVID Pooled Testing and Lab-Based Follow-Up Testing: Shallow nasal or saliva samples are collected and kept separate before being grouped at the lab. If a group tests positive, individual Follow-Up testing occurs at the lab, without a second sample collection. Individual test results are reported to the school.

Any K–12 district or school, including private and parochial schools, are invited to participate in this initiative.

Questions can be directed to

Documents for Schools Participating

All districts and schools that are interested in joining the state-funded SY22 COVID-19 testing program must complete an Authorized School application 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.

SY22 COVID-19 Testing Program Application for Schools

Letter Templates for Families

Test and Stay in Before- and After-School Programs

Additional Documents

Webinar Recordings and Slides

Frequently Asked Questions

Additional Documents for BinaxNOW Testing

School Health Trainings

DPH's School Health Unit is hosting train-the-trainer sessions for school nurses and other school health professionals that will be administering the BinaxNOW diagnostic test. The training consists of an approximately 30-minute presentation by Abbott staff, followed by an anterior nasal swabbing demonstration by the MDPH Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences Sr. Public Health Nursing Advisor, and concludes with school nurses performing an anterior nasal swab return demonstration and performing the point of care test with the BinaxNOW card. Additional trainings have been scheduled. To sign up for one of the future trainings, please go to the BU Shield website. (Please note: You may participate only if you have your BinaxNOW kits shipped and on-hand. You will be unregistered if our records show you have not yet been shipped test kits.)

BinaxNOW Resources for Test Administration

Last Updated: January 10, 2022

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
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