Vol 3, Issue 9


MAY 2, 2022

Happy Monday! Today we learn how to turn your testing program into a grab-and-go toolkit, simplify rules for using expired rapid antigen tests, and cover the updated guidance on reporting results from take-home tests.

Jump to the “Below the fold” section to learn about the FEMA reimbursement extension and testing supplies for summer camps.

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Create your own grab-and-go testing toolkit!

School testing staff have accomplished so much over the past two years, building testing programs from scratch and sustaining them through all the challenges of the pandemic. Now L2R wants to help you turn your protocols, best practices, and institutional knowledge into a packaged toolkit that new or returning team members can grab and quickly implement as testing programs resume over the summer and fall. 

During the Learning Network event last week, L2R presented a new resource that simplifies this process: the COVID-19 Testing Toolkit. This guide helps testing teams document every component of their existing program and turn it into a digital, searchable workbook that any user can navigate. It features a comprehensive list of fillable templates that capture and organize information on:

  • School COVID-19 Testing Teams
  • Key Contacts
  • Federal, State, and Local Public Health Guidance
  • Testing Program Considerations
  • Testing Vendors & Supplies
  • Communications Materials
  • Lessons Learned

Watch the full Learning Network presentation to learn more about this resource.

The templates included in the Testing Toolkit also provide up-to-date information on testing vendors and links the latest state and federal guidance for K-12 schools.

Take a moment to browse the toolkit and explore all it has to offer. Building your own testing toolkit to capture your school’s unique institutional knowledge before the summer break will make it much easier to re-start programs over the summer and/or fall.

Here’s what Learning Network attendees had to say about the COVID-19 Testing Toolkit:

  • What a gift – thank you!
  • This is great. I was needing something like this!
  • This resource is fantastic – I’m looking forward to going through it for our district.
  • Wow. Really appreciate this resource! It will be a huge time-saver. Thank you team!

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When is it okay to use expired tests?

Hint…it’s all about quality control!

There has been a lot of information circulating lately about expiration dates and extended shelf-lives of rapid antigen tests that could how you manage your inventory. The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has simplified this issue for schools with its recent Approval to Use Expired Reagent Antigen Test Kits.   

Here’s the key takeaway: 

  • DOH has approved the use of all rapid antigen tests after expiration if the built-in quality controls (QC) are intact and correct results are obtained from QC tests.

Related: See our Vendor Toolkits for details about the internal quality control measures for each rapid antigen test on the L2R menu.

This approval covers ALL rapid antigen tests available through L2R, including iHealth tests. Yes, the expiration date for iHealth tests has been extended recently by the FDA, but the overarching rule here remains: if the quality control is working correctly, then it is okay to use any DOH-approved rapid antigen test after expiration. 

A note on inventory: As summer approaches, remember to store your tests in a dry, cool space. Higher temperatures and damp environments can ruin your supply.

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Guidance on reporting take-home test results

More and more testing is performed at home with rapid antigen tests such as iHealth. Many families receive these “take-home” tests from state or federal distribution programs, buy them directly, or receive them from their schools. The question is: how are results from take-home tests captured, and are schools required to report results from take-home tests? 

Related: Are We in the Middle of an Invisible COVID Wave?

On April 27th, DOH releasedupdated guidance on reporting results for take-home tests. 

Here’s what to know:

  • If a rapid antigen test is conducted at school or at the designated district testing site, then test results must be reported to DOH via SimpleReport. This is consistent with what schools have already been doing for school-based testing.
  • If schools are made aware of a positive result from a take-home test by a parent, caretaker, or student, then this positive test result must be reported to the Local Health Jurisdiction (LHJ) but should not be reported via SimpleReport.

See the Reporting section of the updated DOH guidance for more details.

When distributing take-home tests to students, schools should always provide the latest guidance on isolation when testing positive. Please reach out to your L2R Program Manager if you need assistance with these communications.

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Below the fold

FEMA reimbursement 

The deadline to submit for reimbursements for testing staff and other COVID-19-related expenses has been extended to July 1, 2022! 

Funding is available for schools to cover COVID-19 specific costs directly related to keeping schools open and safe. This funding – provided by the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) – is meant to support public, private, and tribal schools across Washington state in COVID-19 testing and prevention. Costs for testing staff or overtime pay for staff contributing to testing services are eligible for reimbursement through this program.  

Eligible expenses include:

  • Air filtration
  • CLIA waiver application fees
  • Temporary equipment for testing sites (such as tents)
  • Staffing to administer tests and overtime pay
  • Signage and other communication materials; temporary modifications to entrances
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Technology to register and track testing results

Funding is retroactive and applies to costs incurred between January 20, 2020 and July 1, 2022. Download the one-pager to learn how to apply or reach out to your L2R Program Manager for guidance.

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Testing for summer camps

Rapid antigen tests are now available at no cost to summer camps in Washington state serving K-12 populations. Here’s what to know:

  • The camp/extracurricular organization must have participants that are in the K-12 age range to be eligible for the CDC test kit resources.
  • The camp/extracurricular organization does not need to be directly affiliated with a school to request tests, so long as the population they serve includes kids in the K-12 age range.
  • The CDC may collect metrics like Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) and whether the program serves underserved populations to help determine prioritization of requests.

See the CDC one-pager for more information about this program including a link to order tests to share with your colleagues involved in these youth organizations.

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Spanish FAQs

Our Testing and Vaccination FAQs are now available in Spanish! We cover parent/caretaker questions about school testing programs and the COVID-19 vaccines, such as:

  • Is testing free?
  • What are the requirements for isolation if testing positive?
  • Are nasal swabs safe?
  • What is Test to Stay and what are the updated requirements for participation?
  • Is the vaccine safe?
  • Will I get a positive COVID-19 test result because I’m vaccinated?
  • Is the vaccine & booster effective?

Check out these new translated resources and share them with your school community. L2R works with DOH to regularly review and update these FAQs.

For more FAQs in additional languages, check out the DOH’s Resources and Recommendations (language toggle on top right side of page). You’ll find FAQs on testing, vaccinations , and other COVID-19-related issues in a number of languages.

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K-12 case rates

Cases among children and youth continued to increase over the previous two-week reporting period, but hospitalization rates declined. Here are the key findings from the DOH report on cases among those ages 0-19 from from April 03, 2022 to April 17, 2022:

  • There were a total of 2,376 cases for this period (126 cases per 100,000 population) 1,520 cases reported for this period (80.6 cases per 100,000).
  • The total number of cases (2,376) increased by 56% compared with the previous two-week reporting period (1,520).
  • The highest case rates were in Educational Service District (ESD) 121.
  • The highest case rates were among 14 to 19-year-olds (145.2 cases per 100,000).
  • There were 17 hospitalizations (0.9 hospitalizations per 100,000 population) over the reporting period.
  • Hospitalization rates are decreasing

A Spanish language edition of this weekly report is available. Lea el informe aquí.

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Vax stats 

Vaccination rates in school-aged children have stalled over the past several months with the lowest rates among children ages 5 to 11. Since late March, there has been less than a one percent increase in vaccination rates for all K-12 age groups in each category monitored by DOH (e.g., initiated vaccination, fully vaccinated, received a booster).

Here are the figures from DOH as of April 13th.

Ages 16-17:

  • 67.5% initiated vaccination (no change since late March)
  • 62.1% fully vaccinated (less than 1% increase since late March)
  • 43.1% received a booster (no change since late March)

Ages 12-15:

  • 59.6% initiated vaccination (no change since late March)
  • 54.7% fully vaccinated (no change since late March)
  • 39.2% received a booster (no change since late March)

Ages 5-11:

  • 36.6% initiated vaccination (less than 1% increase since late March)
  • 32.2% fully vaccinated (less than 1% increase since late March)
  • This age group is not yet eligible for booster shots.

As of April 26th, 68% of people 5 and older are fully vaccinated in Washington state.

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Moderna asks the F.D.A. to authorize its vaccine for children under 6   

The New York Times – April 28, 2022. The companies’ (Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna) vaccines are different in key respects. Moderna is proposing a two-dose regimen for children less than 6 years old, using one-fourth the strength of an adult dose. Pfizer and BioNTech are working on a three-dose regimen, at one-tenth the strength of the adult dose.

Kitsap County schools report COVID-19 outbreaks, pivot to remote learning

Fox 13 Seattle – April 27, 2022. Bremerton School District said the high school is experiencing a staff shortage, with several teachers calling out sick due to a “variety of illnesses, including COVID.” Like other districts statewide, the challenge is there aren’t enough substitute teachers to fill the absences. This forces the school to learn from home for the rest of the week.

Are We in the Middle of an Invisible COVID Wave?

The Atlantic – April 28, 2022. “Positivity rate—the percent of tests taken that have a positive result—can be more informative than looking at the raw numbers, too. And right now, the nationwide positivity rate is telling us that an increasing number of people are getting sick: Nationwide, 6.7 percent of COVID tests are coming back positive, versus 5.3 percent last week.”

The masks, the CDC and the judge — a battle brewing since 1944

NPR – April 28, 2022. Masks are now optional in many airports, subways and buses. But to understand why, you have to go back to 1944 when the Public Health Service Act was passed.

Fauci clarifies that the pandemic isn’t over, after saying the U.S. is out of the ‘pandemic phase’

The New York Times – April 28, 2022. “I want to clarify one thing. I probably should have said the acute component of the pandemic phase. And I understand how that can lead to some misinterpretation.”

Why Are Masks Such A Big Deal For So Many? Psychologists Have Thoughts

NPR – April 27, 2022 (35 minute listen). Dr. Anthony Fauci, Gretchen Chapman, and Steven Taylor join NPR for the conversation.

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How Do Vaccines Work?

Check out the first part of Episode 7 to see where we left off.

What does your immune system do?!

Find out in our next episode! 

Read more Swab & JAB

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