Biden-Harris Administration Announces Partnership to Distribute Free COVID-19 Tests to Schools Across the Country

Archived Information

Biden-Harris Administration Announces Partnership to Distribute Free COVID-19 Tests to Schools Across the Country

All school districts will be able to order tests directly from the federal government beginning in early December
November 29, 2023

Today, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR), a division within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), announced a partnership to distribute free COVID-19 tests to schools across the country. In a letter sent to local education agencies (LEAs) today by ED, school districts are being encouraged to order tests directly from the federal government to be made available to students, parents, staff, and school communities.

“The Biden-Harris Administration remains a committed partner with schools in keeping our students and teachers safe and healthy,” said ED’s Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development Roberto Rodriguez. "These self-tests are easy to use and can play an important role in preventing the spread of COVID-19. We encourage schools to make use of these free resources to safeguard students, parents, and staff throughout the 2023-24 school year.”

The tests will be made freely available to all traditional and charter LEAs nationwide. School districts may distribute these tests for free to students, staff, parents, and school communities, with the expectation that millions of tests will be sent out in the coming months – allowing schools to stock nurses’ offices, distribute at events, send tests home with students or parents, and more.

“Keeping students and teachers safe has been a priority of the Biden-Harris Administration since day one. Making free COVID-19 tests available to schools this year ensures that students and staff can test throughout the winter months,” said HHS’s Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Dawn O’Connell. “The partnership announced today leverages ASPR’s ongoing test distribution programs to reach school communities through ED’s close relationship to school districts – helping keep communities healthy.”

The partnership announced today is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to boost COVID-19 testing access across the country – building on test distribution programs that ASPR has led for over two years. Over 1.6 billion COVID-19 tests have been distributed directly to households, schools, long-term care facilities, community health centers, and food banks through these channels – with over four million tests sent out each week, a number that is expected to rise as more school districts take advantage of this program.

Additionally, ASPR opened another round of ordering on on November 20, making four more free tests available to households ahead of the holidays. Today’s announcement builds on previous Biden-Harris Administration efforts to increase COVID-19 testing in schools to keep students safe and schools open.

Read the full Dear Colleague Letter from ED here.