School Staff to Get Free COVID-19 Saliva Tests

School Staff to Get Free COVID-19 Saliva Tests Click to Enlarge Photo: Unsplash

(KNSI) - Teachers, school staff, and childcare providers in Minnesota will have access to a free COVID-19 saliva test this fall.

According to Gov. Tim Walz, as part of the state's Safe Learning Plan for the 2020-21 School Year, over 250,000 COVID-19 saliva tests will be available for education and childcare staff. Vault Health and Infinity Biologix have partnered with the State of Minnesota to facilitate the tests, which will cost 6 million dollars.

"We hope that this test will provide a convenient, reliable and quick option for our teachers, school staff and childcare center employees," Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said.

The Minnesota Department of Education and the Department of Human Services have provided unique codes to schools and licensed child care facilities, respectively, to distribute to teachers and staff to access one free COVID-19 test per person. This covers all school staff in the state, including charter schools, tribal schools, public school districts, and private schools.

The test can be requested when needed, such as potential exposure or if a staff member becomes symptomatic. The test is not required to be taken before classes start, but should be used before the end of 2020.

Malcolm said testing is an important part of the state's COVID-19 strategy.

"Adding saliva testing to our testing system in Minnesota both grows and diversifies our total testing capacity," Malcolm said.

Walz has indicated that saliva testing could be available to all Minnesotans in the future through a continued partnership with Vault Health and Infinity Biologix.