Philadelphia

Note: Recipient-submitted material; content authored by recipient, not ELC
Information current as of October 6, 2021

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To learn more about Philadelphia’s school testing plans, contact their school-based screening testing program.

Management structure for school screening

To address the diverse needs of schools in Philadelphia, Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) aims to allow schools to implement testing programs that will best serve their students and staff. 85% of Philadelphia’s ELC Reopening Schools funding was provided directly to the School District of Philadelphia (SDP), which operates 230 K-12 schools, to ensure District stakeholders maximized control over resources available. For non-District schools, including charter schools, private schools, and religious schools, PDPH will select a vendor that be available for screening, outbreak, and symptomatic testing. Staff within the Division of COVID-19 Containment will ensure compliance with federal guidelines, financial accountability, and alignment with the goals of ELC Reopening Schools guidance.

PDPH has formalized, publicly available guidance developed for schools and early childhood education settingsexternal icon. This guidance is also shared directly with K-12 institutions by the Pediatric Partnerships team via email, and as needed through information sessions and telephone calls.

PDPH will provide non-District schools with instructions on how to access testing services through a vendor. The vendor is also required to perform direct outreach to schools to advertise their services. The Pediatric Partnerships team will also help with messaging availability of testing services.

Support provided to school districts

In PDPH’s guidance for K-12 schools, screening testing is recommended for the following scenarios:

  • Weekly testing, as resources allow, for students who are not fully vaccinated during periods of moderate, substantial, and high community transmission
  • Weekly testing of staff who are not fully vaccinated, regardless of community transmission levels
  • Unvaccinated athletes who play indoor sports should be tested two times per week
  • Unvaccinated students who play woodwind and brass instruments should be tested twice per week or each day they participate in group lessons, practices, or performances

To support screening testing, PDPH has provided grant funds directly to School District of Philadelphia (SDP). Currently, SDP has implemented screening testing for staff, unvaccinated athletes, and unvaccinated students participating performing arts. The District is considering implementing weekly screening testing of all unvaccinated K-12 students, dependent upon resource availability. For non-SDP schools, PDPH is working to identify a vendor that can provide weekly screening testing to unvaccinated students and staff. Screening testing will be the core service offered to the non-SDP schools.