MICHIGAN — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer launched a pilot program alongside the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) named MI Backpack Home Tests on Nov. 18, 2021.
MI Backpack Home Tests aims to create a safer environment for K-12 students, parents, teachers, and support staff amid the pandemic.
“We must use every tool in our toolbox to keep kids safe and ensure that they can continue learning in person this school year," said Governor Whitmer. “With the MI Backpack Home Tests program, we can help protect students, parents, teachers, and school staff by providing free tests directly to Michigan families. While these tests will help keep people safe, the best thing anyone can do to protect themselves and ensure safe, in-person learning, is to get vaccinated. I urge all parents to take their children ages 5 and up to get a safe, effective vaccine.”
The pilot program is starting this week in Charlotte Public Schools. Parents, students, and staff can voluntarily sign up to take home COVID-19 test kits.
MDHHS will provide kits and educational materials that will be distributed by schools to participants. MDHHS also reports that every person enrolled in the program receives one at-home COVID-19 test kit which includes two tests.
“This pilot offers one more tool to keep our school communities safe,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, Michigan’s chief medical executive. “Along with the safe and effective vaccine, in-school testing, mask-wearing, ventilation, social distancing and handwashing, take-home testing allows schools to educate our children safely during the pandemic.”
During the first week of the program, schools will provide information to parents and staff before collecting registration forms from those who choose to participate.
School districts including Benton Harbor Area Schools will be added to the pilot program later and receive their test kits after Thanksgiving break.