Operation Kits for Kids to make 87,000 rapid test kits available for K-12 students

MONTPEILIER, Vt. – Gov. Phil Scott announced that parents and caregivers of Vermont’s K-12 children will be able to pick up one free rapid antigen test kit per student Thursday, Dec. 30 or Friday, Dec. 31 at one of 51 Agency of Transportation sites around Vermont. The pick-up sites will be open both days from 7 to 10 a.m. and 3 to 6 p.m. Name and school of the student will be required to pick up the tests.

The state is encouraging parents to use these kits to test kids before they return to school after winter break, but a test is not a requirement for returning to school.

More than 87,000 of the two-pack rapid antigen test kits will be distributed, to allow students to test twice before school starts. Students should take these tests at least 24 hours apart, starting two days before school begins.

Registration is necessary so that each of the sites have the needed number of kits on hand. Additional test kits are being distributed through some community partners who serve hard-to-reach neighbors to help ensure equitable access to all.

“I encourage families to take advantage of these rapid tests,” said Governor Scott. “Testing your child before school starts gives you peace of mind and will slow the spread of Covid-19 in our communities. It also will help protect the most vulnerable, and keep schools open so kids can get the education they need and deserve.”

Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD, also encouraged families to be sure their eligible children are vaccinated.

“The virus is highly contagious, and will spread easily, especially in closed, indoor settings such as schools. This is especially true of the new Omicron variant,” said Dr. Levine. “So, I am again asking every parent and caregiver in Vermont to please, get your children vaccinated. There is vaccine available for kids ages five and older that will give them the protection they need to stay safe and healthy and help protect the people they are with – especially those who are at high risk of serious outcomes if they get the virus.”

The State continues to work to acquire greater supply of rapid antigen tests for broad distribution to Vermonters. With the limited national supply, antigen tests have been prioritized for schools and long-term care facilities.

Information about vaccinations for children can be found at www.healthvermont.gov/KidsVaccine.

For more information about Covid-19, testing, vaccinations, and how to prevent spread of the virus, please visit www.healthvermont.gov/covid-19.

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