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State Ending Free Distribution of COVID Tests to Students and Families

The Burlington School Department will likely not be distributing COVID-19 tests to students’ families in the fall after a decision to not support the program came down from the state.

Superintendent Eric Conti told the School Committee on Tuesday that the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) will no longer be providing communities with tests during the 2022/23 school year.

On its website, DESE posted this update:

“The state will no longer supply self-tests or other COVID testing services to schools and districts beginning in the fall. For school year 2022-23, DESE and DPH strongly recommend that schools and districts interested in implementing their own testing program limit that program to symptomatic rapid testing only. Schools and districts may purchase self-tests through the statewide contract.”

Assistant Superintendent Patrick Larkin said school leaders will discuss to what extent, if any, the district will supply tests to families.

“We don’t know what we’re going to face in the fall so we’ll discuss some options over the summer and have more details before school starts in the fall,” he said.

Conti said the plan as of now is to treat COVID more like the district treats other illnesses.

“We’re hoping and planning on a more typical start to the year but that’s what we were planning last year,” he said. “As of right now the state seems to be no longer supporting the distribution of testing so families will be responsible for that. I think we’ll be responding to students who come in who present symptoms like we would anytime a student has symptoms like a fever. It’s a parent’s responsibility, for instance, to get a strep test so they’d be responsible for getting a COVID test.”