Note: Recipient-submitted material; content authored by recipient, not ELC
Information current as of October 6, 2021
Management structure for school screening
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is the lead agency responsible for administration of ELC Reopening Schools funding. DHSS makes decisions about program implementation after consultation with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and other stakeholders. This program includes two main buckets of work.
The first is a vendor contract to administer in-school screening testing services, including on-site administrative and clinical staffing support. The testing vendor provides a turnkey, end-to-end screening testing program for K-12 schools that want to implement a testing program. DHSS reviews and approves school district applications for participating in the screening testing program. Once approved, DHSS forwards the applications to the testing vendor for onboarding into the testing program. Additionally, DHSS promotes and champions the testing program, offers guidance to Missouri school districts, oversees the testing vendor’s implementation of testing programs, and administers program funding. The testing vendor is responsible for school outreach, screening testing program implementation, and reporting testing information to DHSS.
The second bucket is a supplemental funding program, which includes direct contracts with local school districts, including public, private, and charter schools, for activities related to prevention and detection of COVID-19.
Support provided to school districts
DHSS is committed to providing ongoing guidance and resources for school districts, as well as resources for students and families as appropriate, to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. The overarching intent of the support provided is to build capacity for infection prevention and control in schools. DHSS expects building K-12 schools’ organizational capacity for detecting, preventing, and controlling COVID-19 will facilitate understanding and correct interpretation of CDC, state, and local infection prevention and control recommendations Activities are responsive to the needs identified among school staff.
DHSS’ School Health Program is the lead for school-related response activities. The program includes two nurses and one program staff member. Collaboration with internal and external subject matter experts (SMEs) fortifies this team. The screening testing program maintains the health department’s integral role in the screening testing ecosystem, builds upon the work already begun under ELC Enhancing Detection and ELC Enhancing Detection Expansion supplements, and ensures a holistic assessment and monitoring of disease burden within any given community. Activities, in addition to the screening testing program, include:
- Offering regular professional development opportunities on COVID-19 hot topics for school district staff, including connection to SMEs through the Missouri Telehealth Network’s Extension for Community Health Care Outcomes (ECHO) platform
- Updating existing school-based screening guidance resources to include infection control strategies
- Working with SMEs to develop training curriculum on infection prevention and control basics
- Using the TEAMS (Training, Education, Assistance, Mentorship and Support) model to review school health policies, practices, and infrastructure specific to infection prevention and control
- Providing resources (funding and training with SMEs) for addressing indoor air quality and ventilation systems
- Ensuring access to onsite and virtual supervision/consultation for health aides and Licensed Practical Nurses working in small rural schools
- Providing financial resources to districts to afford items needed to maintain recommended infection control and prevention strategies
- Maintaining a rapid antigen testing program to allow for onsite diagnostic testing