CHARLOTTE, Mich. — Parents, staff members and school administrators in Charlotte Public Schools can now receive free at-home COVID-19 antigen tests if they opt into the MI Backpack Home Test program.
The program is a pilot run through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and Charlotte Public Schools is the first district to offer it.
“It offers for any parent or staff member who opts in with a short google form type survey, they will get a test package that includes two tests that their students can just bring home,” said Charlotte Public Schools Superintendent Mandy Stewart.
Stewart said she was surprised Charlotte was the first to opt in.
"The at-home tests are not cheap," Stewart said. "They're hard to find. Most of the stores are out of them and not everybody has the means to be able to purchase test or has the transportation to go to a testing location.".
Anne Barna, the health promotion director at the Barry Eaton District Health Department, said that as of late last week Charlotte Public Schools had 39 people with COVID who were in their isolation period and more than 400 people identified as needing to quarantine.
Barna hopes parents find the program beneficial and believes it’s a great extra tool for families.
“We know that vaccination is probably the most important thing people can do, but we also know that having access to testing is incredibly important. And, right now, those kinds of test kits can be very hard to find in local stores,” Barna said.
Jenifer Delcamp has two kids in the Charlotte School District and signed them up for the program on Friday.
“I jumped on it just so I'm able to have them on hand for the testing, because they’ve been quarantined, like I said, five times," she said. "So if they develop any symptoms throughout that, I’ll have the test on hand I can be like, 'Hey, let’s check you.'”
Benton Harbor Area Schools and Battle Creek Public Schools already signed up for the pilot program and will receive their test kits after Thanksgiving break, according to a release from the state.
Anyone in a participating school district who is interested in opting into the program can click here.
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