Do you have questions about the free COVID-19 Testing Program at your child’s school?
Below are answers to questions you may have.
When will I get my incentive payment(s) for my test(s)?
All current virtual incentive payments will be distributed within 30 days via email. Physical payments will not be as immediate as virtual card payments due to the logistics involved with delivery. The virtual cards are instantly distributed once approved. If you have chosen a physical card and would like to switch to the virtual distribution method, please call the Safer, Smarter Schools hotline at 877-356-1511. After the first payment distribution, payments will be processed monthly at the end of every month. We appreciate your enrollment in COVID-19 testing. Your smart choices are keeping our schools safer.
While the ability to sign up for incentive payments through the virtual option will remain available and open throughout the program (while funds are available), there is a deadline to sign up for physical cards for incentive payments. If a participants desires to receive a physical card for incentive payment, they must the sign up for both the program and the incentive payment portion of the program by November 1, 2021.
Incentive payments are currently scheduled for pay out through the end of the school year in 2022 or until the incentive fund has been spent. Click here for important new information about payments.
How can I register my child to participate?
Your child’s school will provide all of the information necessary to register your child.
What is the COVID-19 Testing Program?
The Louisiana Department of Health’s Safer, Smarter Schools COVID-19 Testing Program offers free, regular testing to students and staff for COVID-19. Regular testing means that testing is offered to everyone on a regular basis, even if they don’t have symptoms of COVID-19.
Why is our school testing for COVID-19?
Regular testing is a safe, effective way to 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, don’t have symptoms but can still spread the virus, so regular testing helps find infections before they can spread to others. This is especially important for children under 12 years old who are not yet able to get vaccinated against COVID-19, families and staff with younger children at home, and others who are not vaccinated or are otherwise at risk for getting seriously sick from COVID-19. Regular testing will help us keep students in the classroom and allow students to take part in the other activities they love.
Does my child have to get tested to attend school in person?
No, COVID-19 tests are optional, although strongly encouraged. If you choose not to enroll your child in the program, they can still attend school in-person. Students will not be tested without both the student and guardian giving their consent.
Does my child have to get tested to take part in school sports and extracurricular activities?
No, COVID-19 tests are optional, although strongly encouraged. If you choose not to enroll your child in the program, they can still take part in school sports and extracurricular activities. Students will not be tested without both the student and guardian giving their consent.
My child is fully vaccinated. Do they need to be tested to attend school in person?
No, current CDC guidance states that if your child is fully vaccinated, they do not need to be tested unless they develop COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with a person with COVID-19. Testing will be conducted in accordance with CDC testing guidance.
How the program works
How will the testing be done?
The COVID-19 tests will be free, quick, and easy. We will use a viral test, known as Cue, a molecular rapid test, which returns a result in as little as 15 minutes or a nucleic acid amplification test that is conducted by a lab and takes about 24 hours to get results back. These tests will tell if your child has a current COVID-19 infection, regardless of whether they have symptoms.
How is the test given?
The test will involve a nasal swab. It is a quick and easy test. This nasal test gently swabs the inner part of the lower nostril. The test is not painful. We do not use the longer swabs that reach higher into the nose.
Who will conduct the test?
Members of our school staff will oversee the COVID-19 testing and the testing will be conducted for members of the LDH’s contracted vendors or school personnel.
How much does the test cost?
The COVID-19 tests will be free to students and staff. You will never receive a bill, and your insurance will not be charged.
How frequently will my child be tested?
Our regular testing will take place every week.
Will my child miss class to get tested?
No, testing shouldn’t interfere with your child’s school schedule. The test is quick and easy, and students will be able to fit the test into their day without disrupting learning or free time.
When will we know the results of the test?
The results of the test should be available within 20 minutes to 24 hours of testing, and results will come to the parent or guardian of the child via email and/or texts.
Is the test reliable?
Tests can show a false negative or false positive, but most test results are useful and give families the information they need. Sometimes—depending on the type of test and other factors—more testing to confirm a result may be recommended.
What if my child tests positive?
We will ask you to keep your child home. You will be asked to provide information about your child’s close contacts so that everyone who has been exposed can be notified. We will be in touch to discuss medical care and other support for your child and family.
What if someone in my child’s school tests positive?
If your child was exposed to someone who has COVID-19, we will be in touch to discuss what actions to take. A COVID-19 test will tell us what further preventive actions are needed.