Bringing COVID-19 Testing to Every School in America—For Free!

The Rockefeller Foundation’s Ambitious National Testing Action Program (NTAP)

March 26, 2021

The shift from in-person to remote learning has had a number of serious consequences. According to the Rockefeller Foundation, the number of emergency department visits related to mental health has increased by 24% for children ages 5 to 11 and 31% for ages 12 to 17. School closures are also worsening existing social inequalities. In Washington, D.C., a disproportionate number of Black and Latino students are now failing to meet literacy benchmarks. At the start of the school year, four times more women than men left the workforce. This is clearly not great.

“Testing is the missing link to K-12 schools reopening” – The Rockefeller Foundation

Despite being a potential “missing link” that could help schools open responsibly, routine testing is still under-utilized. 

One understandable concern is the cost and difficulty of running a testing program. To quote the Rockefeller Foundation, “Schools are central to the health and wellbeing of communities, but they are not medical centers; schools can become overwhelmed by the sheer number of public health decisions they have to make in the absence of clear guidance. The direct benefits of routine testing can only be realized if testing is easy, accessible, and affordable to every school.”

The key takeaways:
 • Testing can help schools resume and continue in-person learning.
 • Testing should be easy, accessible, and affordable for schools.
We couldn’t agree more.

One solution to this problem is pooled testing. Pooling, which is already being used by hundreds of schools across the country, reduces the cost of testing to as little as $6 per person without sacrificing accuracy. It also simplifies the testing process—testing an entire classroom typically takes less than 12 minutes.

“Logistics are feasible for public schools, both large and small. Testing protocols become second nature within weeks” – The Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation’s National Testing Action Program includes contact information for vendors who provide testing for K-12 schools along with a list of important considerations when choosing a vendor. Not only is Concentric on the list, our nationwide pilot program and ongoing pooled testing initiatives in Massachusetts and Baltimore City Schools are featured as examples of success stories in K-12 testing.

If you’re interested in bringing pooled testing to your school or district, we’re here to help! Get in touch today to learn more about our testing program and what sources of funding may be available.