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Lisa Black

A Massachusetts “test-to-stay” program in K-12 schools successfully limited quarantines and allowed more students to participate in in-school learning without increasing transmission of the COVID-19 virus, according to a study pre-published in Pediatrics. The study, “A Test-to-Stay Modified Quarantine Program for COVID-19 in School,” pre-published online Tuesday, Feb. 8, was peer-reviewed and accepted for publication but is not the final version of record. The test-to-stay program, first implemented in Massachusetts at the start of the 2021/2022 academic year, gives students who have been exposed to COVID-19 in school the option to be tested each school day with a rapid antigen test. Those who test negative are allowed to continue in-person learning. Over a 13-week period during the 2021-22 school year, 1,959 schools activated the program at least once for 102,373 individual students exposed to Covid-19. Researchers found a per-person Covid-19 positivity rate of 2.9%, similar to the rate during mandatory quarantine upon exposure, and the per-test rate positivity rate was 0.9%. The study authors estimate that between 325,328 to 497,150 days of in-person school were saved through participation in the program, which was implemented in conjunction with other infection control measures, including universal masking of all students and staff regardless of vaccination status. The authors conclude that a test-to-stay strategy is feasible, safe and effective.


The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults.

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