IDPH renews agreement for school COVID testing | #coronavirus | #kids. | #children | #schools

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — The Illinois Department of Health recently announced that it has renewed an agreement with SHIELD Illinois to provide free COVID-19 testing for Illinois school districts outside Chicago during the 2022-2023 school year.

The renewal means that school districts can once again utilize the saliva-based COVID-19 testing platform developed at the University of Illinois for no cost. Chicago Public Schools and non-CPS schools in Chicago have their own testing agreements and programs that exclude them from this renewal.

“Schools remain an important place for testing and preventing the spread of infection,” said Interim IDPH Director Amaal Tokars, Ph.D. “We want to do everything possible to prevent sickness among our children, which is why this renewal and continued testing is critical.”

U of I system president Timothy Killeen also spoke about the agreement renewal and about the efforts of SHIELD team members in keeping students healthy.

“We are honored to renew our partnership with the state for another school year as this pandemic continues to demonstrate a high level of unpredictability and an ongoing need for quick, reliable testing,” Killeen said. “I want to thank the hard-working team at SHIELD Illinois for carrying the U of I System banner with distinction and for keeping our schools safe. It’s a wonderful example of how research and innovation at the University of Illinois are contributing to the health and well-being of our citizens, particularly in times of crisis.”

SHIELD Illinois provided testing for more than one million K-12 students during the 2021-2022 school year and at 57 community colleges and universities. SHIELD Illinois also provided testing at numerous businesses and government agencies, including the Illinois General Assembly and the U.S. District Court of the Northern Circuit, and opened 48 free community testing sites since it was created in the summer of 2020.

School districts and other organizations that would like to partner with SHIELD Illinois for COVID testing or renew their agreement are encouraged to sign up by July 15 to guarantee testing o the first day of school.

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