Free COVID-19 tests will be available for schools courtesy the University of Illinois SHIELD program. Nearly 260 school districts thrououghout the state along with many private schools worked with SHIELD illinois during the last school year. The SHIELD program uses saliva tests and Beth Heller with the program says that it helps keep schools safe.
It was shown that the quick saliva test helped districts slow the spread of the virus last year. Mortality rates last year in Champaign County was reduced more than four-fold relative to what would have been predicted thanks to aggressive testing.
Testing was provided for about 1 million students and staff in K-12 schools, and at 57 community colleges and universities, along with some businesses and government agencies. SHIELD Illinois has administered 6.4 million tests as of this month.
Heller says that interested schools must sign up by July 15th to ensure tests are avilable for the first day of class. Federal funding for public school testing in Illinois comes from IDPH and the Midwest Coordination Center. Federal funding for testing in private schools comes from the Midwest Coordination Center. Find out more information by visiting shieldillinois.com.