The Mississippi State Department of Health, with the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), is supporting voluntary asymptomatic screening testing for COVID-19 in kindergarten through grade 12 (K-12) school settings.
The goal of this program is to slow the spread of COVID-19 in these settings and to maintain in-person education through frequent testing of teachers/staff and students. There are two options to this program.
Option 1: Schools are provided tests, and conduct their school screening testing themselves
Option 2: Schools may choose to utilize the MSDH testing vendor who will conduct the weekly school screening testing for the school
Option 3: In addition to Options 1 and 2, MSDH is supporting an option that will facilitate testing to end quarantine after 5 days for exposed students and staff. Interested schools are provided Home Tests which the school will distribute to students and staff quarantined due to exposure or close contact. Following CDC and MSDH guidance, schools and school districts may elect to distribute home tests to staff or parents to use on the fifth day of quarantine to determine if the child / staff member can return to school on the 6th day.
Please see the School-Based COVID-19 Testing Playbook for a full overview and guidance. Follow the steps below to enroll your school district.
Option 1: School-Conducted Testing
K-12 school districts can enroll in the School Based Testing Initiative and conduct on-site testing by following the steps below:
- Register for COVID-19 reporting with SimpleReport: simplereport.gov/sign-up/
- E-mail a completed CLIA Certificate of Waiver application to CLIA-MSDH@msdh.ms.gov
- Review and sign the MSDH School-Based Testing Initiative Agreement.
Once your CLIA certificate number is received (usually one to two days after applying):
- Complete the online COVID-19 School-Based Testing Initiative Application, and follow the directions to upload the signed MSDH School-Based Testing Initiative Agreement from above and enter the CLIA Certificate of Waiver Application number you receive.
After you have completed the application and uploaded the required documents, MSDH will be in contact with your school/school district to arrange for you to receive the initial allocation of test kits (after the initial allocation, MSDH will provide a mechanism for ordering additional test kits).
Option 2: Vendor-Conducted Testing
MSDH has contracted with a testing vendor (Maverick Health) to conduct statewide COVID-19 school screening testing. Maverick Health will be contacting each school district via mass communication and individual web meetings/conference calls to determine school district/school participation.
To enroll in vendor-conducted school-based testing, or for questions about this option, please contact Maverick Health or MSDH at the addresses below:
Option 3: Home Tests for Exposure / Close Contact Quarantine
K-12 schools can enroll in the School Based Testing Initiative and conduct home testing after students / staff have been identified of being exposed or a close contact. Option 3 is in addition to Options 1 and 2. All K-12 districts / schools are eligible to enroll in Option 3, to include those that are currently enrolled and participating in Option 1 or 2. Districts / school not currently participating in Option 1 or 2 can choose to enroll only in Option 3 if they desire.
MSDH will provide Home Tests to schools free of charge. When students or staff are identified as being exposed or a close contact, schools will ensure a home test is available for parents / staff to test on the 5th day of being quarantined. This will allow parents and staff to confidently plan their return to school after quarantine.
Option 3 reporting requirements are different from Options 1 and 2. Schools will only be required to report aggregate numbers on a weekly basis. No reimbursement will be provided in Option 3.
To enroll in Option 3, please e-mail your request or questions to: COVIDschoolreporting@msdh.ms.gov. An MSDH COVID-19 staff member will contact you and complete the enrollment process.