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COVID-19 Information

Safer, Smarter Schools Funding FAQs

Why is LDH offering a fully-funded COVID-19 testing program?

LDH was funded by the CDC to provide funding and programmatic support for a COVID-19 testing program in all K-12 schools that voluntarily decided to offer testing to their staff and students. LDH chose the goal of 20% of a total school population to allow for a good sample size of voluntary consenting individuals to be routinely screened for COVID-19 to identify asymptomatic or symptomatic individuals who test positive for COVID-19 to contain a potential outbreak from spreading. As the new variants become the predominant variants spreading throughout Louisiana it will be increasingly important to stop these viruses from spreading in our school systems.

Is weekly testing required?

The CDC funding is intended to support weekly screenings as the best way to stop potential outbreaks. LDH has set a goal of 20% of the total school population. LDH will support School Districts and individual School Systems to reach this goal by providing educational materials, communication strategies, training, and institutional support to reach these goals but the 20% is not required.

Do schools have to test asymptomatic or just symptomatic individuals?

The LDH K-12 COVID-19 Testing is intended to fund weekly testing of asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals.

Can the school district or individual school systems sign-up at any time?

Yes, until the funding runs out! School districts and/or individual schools may sign-up at any time. Both the Option 1 program and the Option 2 program need time to set-up – anywhere from one to three weeks.

Is there a deadline to enroll?

There is a rolling deadline. LDH understand that school districts may need to get approval from their board or upper leadership and this takes time. There is a once a month cut-off that will allow LDH and the Lab Vendors time to have the program set-up by the following month. Here are the next two months of rolling deadlines:

Deadline

Start Date

July 23rd, 2021

August 23rd, 2021

August 13th, 2021

September 6th, 2021

August 30th, 2021

September 20th, 2021

 

If we have ten schools in our parish, then how much money do we receive if we choose Option 1 or Option 2?

The public school district would receive $40k to reimburse the public school districts for associated labor and staffing costs to help coordinate and administer the program. Then, if you chose Option 1: You would receive $300,000 for the associated labor and staffing costs to administer weekly covid-19 testing. $30,000 for each Option 1 school.  The total amount would be $340,000.  This can be used to support labor costs associated with providing and coordinating the testing services.

For Option 2, the public school district would receive $40k to reimburse the public school districts for associated labor and staffing costs to help coordinate and administer the program. Then, if you chose Option 2 (a testing team service), the district would receive $145,000 to distribute to the schools for the associated labor and staffing costs to coordinate the covid-19 testing with the LDH-Lab vendor. The total amount would be $185,000.  This can be used to support labor costs associated with providing and coordinating the testing services.

Can we use this funding to support our current School Based Healthcare Center, School Nurses, LPNs, CNAs, or a school administration who will administer the testing?

Yes, this funding can be used to support existing staffing costs associated with supporting this program.

Are you really paying people to get tested?

The CDC funding that LDH receives offered an option to provide a direct incentive to participants in COVID-19 testing. It is routine to offer voluntary incentives to those participating in clinical trials at academic institutions. LDH acknowledges that asking staff and students to participate in this program is somewhat inconvenient and that the act of testing is contributing time and effort for the greater school community. If one does test positive and one has to quarantine, then this may cause somewhat of a financial burden on a family and the incentives offered would contribute towards that burden. The incentive program is 100% voluntary. If families or individual participants feel uncomfortable, then they do not have to opt-in to receive incentives.

Testing FAQs: Should a close contact of someone who tests positive be forced to quarantine?

No. According to the CDC, people who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they have been fully vaccinated against the disease and show no symptoms.

If unvaccinated, a close contact should be tested between the 7th and 10th day and if negative, may return to school.

Testing FAQs: Can the school district or schools resign from the program at any time?

The school districts and schools may resign from the program at any time but if Option 2 was chosen, we ask that you allow the Lab Vendors and Testing Teams 30 days to end their testing program because they will need time to reduce hours for their staff or re-configure their logistics.