StrongSchoolsNC K-12 COVID-19 Testing Program

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Protect school communities, keep students in the classroom

NCDHHS encourages schools to implement a COVID-19 testing program for the 2022-23 school year. 

School-based testing for COVID-19 can help protect students and staff from the spread of COVID-19 by more quickly detecting the virus within our schools and reducing the risk of further transmission. Participation in the school testing program is available to all schools, public and private. The program is designed to support flexibility in building a testing plan that meets local testing needs and CDC guidance.

K-12 COVID-19 Testing Program Guidance   Testing Informational Webinar

State-Funded Testing Program Options

NCDHHS is offering multiple testing program options for school districts, charter schools, and private schools to select from for the 2022-2023 school year:

Option 1: State-Contracted Vendor Testing 

Schools may choose to use a state-contracted testing vendor. The testing vendors are available to implement screening via individual PCR testing and provide rapid antigen tests for in-school testing. Vendors will be provided at no cost to schools that elect to participate in this program option. 

Option 2: Independent Testing 

Schools may choose to perform testing on their own or in partnership with a non-state sponsored vendor. NCDHHS will provide rapid antigen tests at no cost to all schools who elect to perform testing independently. 

Option 3:  At-Home Testing Kit Distribution 

NCDHHS is offering rapid at-home antigen testing supplies to support school testing efforts. At-home tests can be requested by schools at no cost and distributed to students and staff for use at home. Use cases include: 

  • Close contact notification testing 
  • At-home testing of symptomatic individuals 
  • Return from break, holiday, or special events screen testing 

Additional Funding Opportunities

Public schools that opt into the StrongSchoolsNC Testing Program are also eligible request additional to support.

Informational Webinar: Learn more about these new funding opportunities via our recorded informational webinar.

Public schools are eligible to request funds for one or several programmatic options identified by NCDHHS:

  • Professional development trainings.
  • School Health Advisory Council activities.
  • Access to educational and intervention consultations.
  • Other programmatic options.

Public schools participating in the testing program are eligible for funding to hire additional school health services staff to support:

  • COVID-19 testing.
  • Other school-based health services.

Public schools may also choose to request funding for other activities related to reducing the spread of COVID-19 in our schools, including:

  • Portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) fan/filtration systems to improve air circulation.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Promotion of COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Public health awareness events.
  • Other allowable expenses described in the testing opt-in form.

Informational Webinar

NCDHHS hosted a webinar Aug. 16 to answer questions from school leaders about new funding opportunities available through the 2022-23 StrongSchoolsNC COVID-19 Testing Program.

Watch the Recording   View/Download Slide Deck

Schools participating in at least one of the no cost testing program options will have access to state-contracted testing vendors providing individual PCR testing and access to the state supply of rapid antigen tests. Additionally, schools can order at-home tests from the state to distribute to students and staff. Participating public schools will be eligible for additional funding including support for school health staffing, Mental and Behavioral Health Funding and Support Opportunities, and other allowable expenses described in the testing program’s opt-in form. 

For more information, please email K12COVIDTesting@dhhs.nc.gov.

Frequently Asked Questions

These FAQs are updated regularly as new information is available. Last updated: Aug. 19, 2022.

For questions about the process, contact K12covidtesting@dhhs.nc.gov and a team member will assist you.

 

Testing Program Overview

General Testing Guidance

State Vendor Testing ("Option 1")

Independent Testing (“Option 2”)

At-Home Testing Kit Distribution ("Option 3")

Funding for Mental & Behavioral Health Initiatives, School Health Staff and Other Allowable Expenses

Test Reporting