COVID-19 Testing in K-12 Schools Insights from Early Adopters

by Laura J. Faherty, Benjamin K. Master, Elizabeth D. Steiner, Julia H. Kaufman, Zachary Predmore, Laura Stelitano, Jennifer T. Leschitz, Brian Phillips, Heather L. Schwartz, Rebecca Wolfe:

In this report, we share insights from a national scan and more than 80 interviews with early adopters of COVID-19 testing in K-12 schools as of December 2020. We describe the characteristics of early adopter schools and districts and their varied approaches to testing. We provide concrete examples of key facilitators of feasible, acceptable, and effective COVID-19 testing. Through ten detailed profiles of schools, districts, and states that have implemented COVID-19 testing in the K-12 setting, we illustrate how these facilitators enabled schools to establish their testing programs.

The experiences of early adopters of COVID-19 testing during the fall 2020 semester show that, despite the absence of a comprehensive national K-12 testing strategy, testing can be effectively integrated into schools’ COVID-19 response plans and can help families and staff feel comfortable participating in in-person instruction. However, even for well-resourced districts and schools, launching a COVID-19 screening testing program was a major undertaking that required access to rapid-turnaround tests, additional staffing or strong partners for logistical support, technical assistance for the design and execution of testing programs, and a strategy for successfully engaging the school community to participate in testing.

Based on these findings, we conclude with several recommendations for school and district leaders and for policymakers to support the implementation of school-based COVID-19 testing programs that can achieve their intended goals.

Madison’s (private, non direct government) One City Schools media coverage.

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 


The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.