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A $119 Million Grant Will Amp Up Testing In Oklahoma Schools

Element5 Digital

In a call with superintendents across Oklahoma Wednesday, State Superintendent for Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister announced a $119 million grant to pay for surveillance testing for COVID-19 in schools.

“This grant is aimed at preventing and mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and can be used as asymptomatic testing or as the day five free testing to help students and staff to reduce the number of days in quarantine,” she said.

Officially called the Oklahoma Schools COVID-19 Prevention Program Grant (Project 723), the grant program will be available to districts to conduct free-to-students testing. A requirement of the grant is that districts must test at least 10% of students each month they participate.

Schools will receive this much money based on their enrollment:

  • 1-500 students $50,000 
  • 501 to 1,000 students $150,000 
  • 1,001 to 5,000 students $300,000 
  • 5,001 to 15,000 students $500,000 
  • 15,001+ students $1,000,000

Funding will be based on October 1 enrollment of a district this fall or last fall, whichever is higher. Grants must be expended by the end of June, 2022.

State Department of Education officials said during the call that schools may also order tests at no cost directly from the state health department and not participate in the grant program. Testing will start as soon as districts apply and their applications are accepted.

StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership of Oklahoma’s public radio stations which relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online.

Robby Korth grew up in Ardmore, Oklahoma and Fayetteville, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Nebraska with a journalism degree.
StateImpact Oklahoma reports on education, health, environment, and the intersection of government and everyday Oklahomans. It's a reporting project and collaboration of KGOU, KOSU, KWGS and KCCU, with broadcasts heard on NPR Member stations.
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