ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan today announced that the State of Maryland has conducted more than 1 million free COVID-19 tests for Maryland students and staff since the beginning of the academic year, as part of the statewide K-12 testing program aimed at keeping schools safe and open.
“After enduring nearly a year of distance learning, we owe it to our Maryland students to do everything we can to help keep them safely in the classroom,” said Governor Hogan. “We all want to keep our kids safe, and this critical testing program is helping us do so.”
The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) has worked in partnership with the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) since Feb. 2021 to offer schools free and efficient testing processes. For the 2021-2022 academic year, all school systems and non-public schools had the option of enrolling in either diagnostic screening, regular surveillance testing, or both. These COVID-19 testing programs are voluntary and subject to enrollment and signed permission from parents.
Yesterday, the governor announced that the state will make an additional $30 million available for school systems to purchase testing resources.
“Nothing is more important than the safety of our students and school staff, which is why MDH has made K-12 COVID-19 testing a priority since last year to support safe in-person learning,” said MDH Secretary Dennis R. Schrader. “Each week we see an increase in the numbers of students and teachers choosing to participate in their school’s testing program, and that continued vigilance will help keep more people safe this winter.”
Currently, 1,218 schools statewide are participating in either weekly screening or diagnostic testing provided by MDH and their lab partners. Since November, an average of more than 80,000 COVID-19 tests have been conducted weekly for students and staff.
As of this week, more than 1,028,000 tests have been conducted as part of the program, and that number is expected to increase as more students and staff choose to participate in this free testing opportunity.