Parents and caregivers of Vermont’s K-12 children will be able to pick up one free rapid antigen test kit per student this week at sites around Vermont, Gov. Phil Scott announced. The state is encouraging parents to use these kits to test kids before they return to school next week, but a test is not a requirement for returning to school.
Families with children in kindergarten through grade 12 will be able to pick up one kit per child at one of 51 Agency of Transportation sites around the state on Thursday, December 30 or Friday, December 31. The pick-up sites will be open both days from 7:00 to 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. Name and school of the student(s) will be required to pick up the tests.
Starting today, Wednesday, December 29, families can complete the registration for a time to pick up their child’s (or children’s) kit. Registration to pick up the tests is necessary to ensure supply can be distributed equitably across sites.
Registration is now open at healthvermont.gov/student-testing.
More than 87,000 of the 2-pack rapid antigen test kits will be distributed, to allow students to test twice before school starts following winter break. Students should take these tests at least 24 hours apart, starting two days before school begins. Registration is necessary so that each of the sites have the needed number of kits on-hand. Additional test kits are being distributed through some community partners who serve hard-to-reach neighbors to help ensure equitable access to all.
“I encourage families to take advantage of these rapid tests,” said Governor Scott. “Testing your child before school starts gives you peace of mind and will slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. It also will help protect the most vulnerable and keep schools open, so kids can get the education they need and deserve.”
Family members and others can pick up the kits for registered students. You will need to provide the name of the student(s) and the school in which they are enrolled in order to pick up the test kit(s). The students do not need to be present.
Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD, also encouraged families to be sure their eligible children are vaccinated.
“The virus is highly contagious, and will spread easily, especially in closed, indoor settings such as schools. This is especially true of the new Omicron variant,” said Dr. Levine. “So, I am again asking every parent and caregiver in Vermont to please, get your children vaccinated. There is vaccine available for kids ages five and older that will give them the protection they need to stay safe and healthy and help protect the people they are with – especially those who are at high risk of serious outcomes if they get the virus.”
The State continues to work to acquire greater supply of rapid antigen tests for broad distribution to Vermonters. With the limited national supply, antigen tests have been prioritized for schools and long-term care facilities.
Testing supplies for Operation Kits for Kids was recently acquired and is being put into the field as fast as possible.