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Governor Walz announces free COVID-19 saliva tests for child care, school employees

Sep 03, 2020 05:37AM ● By Editor
Photo: WDIO-TV

From WDIO-TV - September 2, 2020

Governor Tim Walz announced Wednesday that more than 250,000 COVID-19 saliva tests will be provided for child care and school employees as part of the state's Safe Learning Plan for the 2020-21 School Year.

According to the Governor’s Office, the tests are not required to return to work in a day care center or classroom. Rather, state health officials encourage child care and education professionals to get tested when needed, such as, in the event they have symptoms or believe they may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

“As a classroom teacher for more than 20 years and a parent of a child in public schools, I know that a safe classroom is the foundation for learning,” Governor Walz said. “Those educating and caring for Minnesota’s next generation deserve the peace of mind that these COVID-19 tests will provide.”

Tests can be accessed through unique email codes that the Minnesota Department of Education sent out. Day cares and schools are in charge of distributing these codes to their employees.

The Governor’s office says tests will be available to all staff currently employed by the state's school districts, charter schools, tribal schools, private schools and licensed child care centers. Home schools are currently not covered by the free testing program.

“A central part of our state’s COVID strategy is testing,” Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said. “Adding saliva testing to our testing ecosystem both grows and diversifies our testing capacity. Teachers, school staff, child care center employees have a responsibility to get tested if they believe they’ve been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 or are feeling symptoms themselves. We hope this test will provide a convenient, reliable, and quick option for them.”

Tests are limited to one per person. The project is estimated to cost $6 million.

To read the original article and see related stories, follow this link to the WDIO-TV website.

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