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Biden administration says it wants ‘test-to-stay’ COVID policy to avoid school shutdowns

Rule would test close contacts of confirmed cases to determine if they could remain in class.

Published: December 18, 2021 10:34am

Updated: December 18, 2021 10:36am

The Biden administration this week said it would be advocating a “test-to-stay” COVID-19 policy for U.S. schools in the hopes of avoiding prolonged school shutdowns of the kind that have plagued students for nearly the past two years.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said during a White House press conference on Friday that, under the new policy, “if [children exposed to a COVID case] meet a certain criteria and continue to test negative, they can stay in school, instead of quarantining at home,” as has been standard policy up to this point.

The director said several studies have “demonstrate[d] that test-to-stay works to keep unvaccinated children in school safely.”

Experts have warned that school closures have had severe impacts on students’ educations, with advocates stressing the need to keep schools open and lessons uninterrupted. 

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