MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin schools will receive more than $175 million in federal funding to pay for school-based COVID-19 testing for teachers, students and staff, Gov. Tony Evers said Tuesday.
The money is coming to Wisconsin as part of $10 billion the U.S. Department of Health Services announced in March it was targeting to help schools reopen across the country. The tests would be voluntary.
Evers said the state Department of Health Services will be working with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction to develop a testing program in conjunction with what schools may already have in place. Schools were sent a survey last week to ask what type of testing programs would best meet their needs, Evers said.
Different testing options will be available to schools and more information will be released as they are developed, Evers said.
Concerns about new coronavirus variants more easily infecting people under age 16, who are not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, have increased as case counts have gone up. In Wisconsin, just over 16% of all confirmed positive cases have been among people age 19 or younger.
As of Tuesday, more than 40% of people age 16 and up in Wisconsin have received at least one vaccine dose, including 19% of people age 16 or 17.