How can public schools possibly afford ongoing testing? Answer: Not easily.

Biden Administration Announces Actions
To Expand COVID-19 Testing

(02.17.21, US Department of Health and Human Services)

“HHS will partner with the Department of Defense (DOD) to make a $650 million investment to expand testing opportunities for K-8 schools and underserved congregate settings, such as homeless shelters, directly through new coordination ‘hubs.'” They’re aiming to add “up to 25 million additional tests per month.”

Piggy bank. Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay.
Testing Strategy Simulator

Input the number of people in your system, the cost of the test you plan to use, and the frequency of testing, and this simulator will tell you how much it will all cost over the period of time you choose. Lots of other parameters available as well. From the writers of this paper.
NB: The algorithms underlying the calculator haven’t been peer-reviewed yet.

COVID and anti-COVID materials.
Image by Viktor Ivanchenko from Pixabay
When It Comes To School COVID Testing, Finding Asymptomatic Cases Doesn’t Come Cheap
(WBUR, 01.19.21)

“As Massachusetts plans to roll out weekly COVID-19 testing to public school students and staff, districts that already have similar programs in place say it takes a lot of coordination and human power to keep it going.” It also takes a lot of money.

This piece includes coverage of the screening programs in place in Harvard, Watertown, and Wellesley, Mass.

Harvard Schools Trust

In a typical year, this independent membership organization provides grants to the public schools in Harvard, Mass., for educational enrichment and other supplemental support. This year they generously agreed to serve as a conduit between donors and the Harvard Public Schools for the purpose of funding a weekly COVID screening program. If you have a similar 501(c)(3) nonprofit school booster organization in your area, consider asking them for this service.

Wellesley Education Foundation

WEF is a 501(c)(3) educational foundation that is a partner organization to the public schools in Wellesley, Mass., and funded the screening there. They’re another good resource as a funding model.

Find Your State Association
of Nonprofits

Drill down to find community foundations in your area. They may be able to set up a fund to which you can direct tax-deductible donations, which can then be disbursed to your school system in the form of grants.

If you have a nonprofit set up but it doesn’t yet have 501(c)(3) status, fiscal sponsorship provides a way for your donors to get tax exemptions on their donations. Be warned – depending on the organization you work with, it can take a while to set up a fiscal sponsorship agreement.

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