Note: Recipient-submitted material; content authored by recipient, not ELC
Information current as of October 6, 2021
Management structure for school screening
The Montana Department of Health and Human Services (DPHHS) is offering screening testing for Montana’s K-12 teachers, staff, and students during the 2021-2022 school year. MT DPHHS will distribute supplemental funding to support private schools and public-school districts participating in the State’s K-12 COVID-19 Screening Testing Program or K-12 BinaxNOW Antigen Testing Program. Testing offers an additional layer of prevention, while helping schools to provide in-person learning for their students with confidence. Screening is just one piece of a comprehensive approach for COVID-19 mitigation in schools. Schools participating in screening testing programs are still advised to maintain or put in place additional layers of prevention to help stop in-school transmission as recommended by CDC.
Support provided to school districts
DPHHS is encouraging school systems to direct funding towards hiring and/or retaining staff needed to coordinate asymptomatic screening programs within schools. DPHHS will supply BinaxNow antigen testing kits, free of charge, for schools to rapidly test teachers, staff members, and/or students. Information on how to order BinaxNow test kits and personal protective equipment are included in guidance material produced by the department. Funding levels are determined by the total number of certified quality educators in the school district or private school. Each school district or private school must design and implement a screening testing program that is most effective in their respective communities in consultation with the local health department. Programs may include asymptomatic screening and symptomatic screening, but they cannot be strictly symptomatic screening programs. The programs can screen just teachers, teachers and staff, or teachers, staff, and students or any other combination. Schools can review data from CDC or MT DPHHS to find recent information on the number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population in the previous week. Schools should use CDC’s Screening Testing Recommendations for K-12 Schools by Level of Community Transmission to influence the frequency of their screening testing program.