Michigan health department launches program offering weekly COVID testing to educators

Officials say approximately 300 schools, 9,000 staff members signed up as of Tuesday

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LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) said it is moving forward with offering a voluntary COVID-19 testing program to educators.

Officials said the MI Safe Schools Testing Program, which began Tuesday, will provide weekly tests for educators at private and public schools. Approximately 300 schools and 9,000 staff members have signed up for testing so far.

MDHHS will provide testing supplies at no cost to schools.

The program comes after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer pushed for schools to resume in-person learning by March 1.

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“Voluntary testing of educators is part of the larger state strategy of keeping students, staff and communities safe while giving children the in-person instruction that they need to learn, develop and grow,” said MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel. “Our dedicated teachers are among the frontline workers who have stepped up during this pandemic. Giving them an opportunity to be regularly tested recognizes their sacrifices and keeps everyone safer.”

On Tuesday, Hertel and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun signed orders authorizing testing in non-health care facilities such as schools.

“Testing is the way we are going to be able to identify cases of COVID-19 and reduce the spread of this virus. Signing this order today helps make sure we are eliminating as many barriers to testing as possible,” Khaldun said. “We encourage everyone who has symptoms of COVID-19, or who has been exposed, to be tested. Everyone has a role to play in ending this pandemic.”

The state paused high school in-person learning in November. High schools were allowed to resume in-person learning in January as a part of Michigan’s revised COVID-19 order issued before the holiday break in December.


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About the Author:

DeJanay Booth joined WDIV as a web producer in July 2020. She previously worked as a news reporter in New Mexico before moving back to Michigan.