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Senator Murray Statement on Biden Administration Plan to Send COVID Tests to K-12 Schools

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, issued the following statement on the Biden Administration plan to distribute 5 million free, rapid tests to K-12 schools each month, and provide 5 million, free lab-based PCR tests per month to K-12 schools. The Administration also announced it would deploy surge testing sites to increase free testing access for students and educators.


“Yesterday, I made clear to the Biden Administration that kids, parents, and educators in Washington state are frustrated and anxious —and that the Administration needs to do more to keep kids in school safely. Today, they announced some helpful additional steps: providing 10 million free tests to K-12 schools per month, and setting up surge testing sites in the hardest-hit areas.


“This is a welcome acknowledgment of the problems I’m hearing back at home and the urgent need to keep our kids and educators safe and better support our schools. I expect more details about how the Administration will implement their plan and expand it, to ultimately make sure testing is easily available in every school. And we’ve got to keep our foot on the gas to ensure schools can use the resources from the American Rescue Plan to support students’ learning and mental health needs.


“Our kids have to come first and I’ll keep working with the Administration to fully meet schools’ testing demand, and ensure that as the Omicron surge continues, we’re doing everything possible to make sure kids can stay in their classrooms safely.”


The announcement comes the day after Senator Murray chaired a HELP Committee hearing on the COVID-19 response where she expressed frustration with the current testing efforts and shared concerns from schools in Washington state that they would have to close again due to testing and staffing concern without additional support.