How can public schools possibly afford ongoing testing? Answer: Not easily.
Feds to Provide $10B
For COVID testing in schools
The Biden Administration isn’t just calling for more COVID testing in schools, they’re providing actual, real live money to pay for it. The funds will come from the big American Rescue Plan relief bill and will be allocated on a state-by-state basis, as well as to five of the nation’s biggest cities. The CDC will provide technical assistance (based in part on the Massachusetts Models and the Shah Family Foundation’s toolkit) to places starting up testing programs. This all is separate from the DOD/HHS stuff mentioned at left.
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.”
Life Science Cares
“The mission of Life Science Cares is to leverage the intellectual, financial, and human capital of the life sciences industry in an effort to reduce the effects of poverty in Boston, Philadelphia, San Diego and the Bay Area.” In the Boston area, this organization has provided financial support for COVID screening in public K-12 schools. If you’re in one of their other spheres of influence and are looking for support, check them out. They also leverage volunteers and direct donated goods to organizations that need them.
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.
When It Comes To School COVID Testing, Finding Asymptomatic Cases Doesn’t Come Cheap
“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
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.