Vermont updates “Test at Home” program for K-12 schools

MONTPELIER, Vt. – The Agency of Education and the Department of Health announced new “Test at Home” guidance about testing and quarantine protocols at Vermont’s K-12 schools. This program replaces the in-school “Test to Stay” program for presumptive close contacts of positive Covid-19 cases with an “at-home” based rapid testing process.

State officials said the speed at which the Omicron variant spreads means that the current strategy is too slow and logistically burdensome to be workable for many schools. This new approach addresses the current state of the pandemic in Vermont by allowing schools to respond more quickly, and reducing the burden of contact tracing and testing on staff, which will help schools stay open and functioning as normal as possible.

Like “Test to Stay,” the “Test at Home” initiative makes use of rapid antigen tests to keep students and staff safe and in school. “Test at Home” moves the location of the testing to at-home, before school, giving families flexibility and reducing the logistical burden on schools, families, and students. Schools still have access to in-school antigen tests, as well as PCR and other tests, to respond to students who become symptomatic at school, or who may have difficulty testing at home.

Under the new procedures, when an individual tests positive at a school, or a school is informed that a student or staff member is positive, the school will inform families of children in class with someone who tests positive for Covid-19 and the following steps should be taken:


If a student in that classroom is vaccinated, or if a staff member is vaccinated and has received their booster dose:

  • They may remain in the classroom and do not need to quarantine, and they will be given two rapid antigen tests to take home for use on the fourth and fifth days after learning of their possible exposure.


If a student is unvaccinated:

  • They or their parents can pick up rapid test kits from the school and test the student at home each morning for five days. During that five-day period, the student can continue to attend school, if they test negative each day. They do not need to bring proof of the negative test to school.
  • If they choose not to test, they must stay at home for five days and can return to school after five days if they have no symptoms. Taking a PCR or LAMP test is recommended on or after day five.


Students who are identified as close contacts outside of school, as well as school staff who are not fully vaccinated (primary vaccine and booster shot) and have a possible exposure, can also pick up rapid tests from their schools and follow the same five-day protocol. Additionally, in the coming weeks, school nurses will be provided rapid PCR-like tests so that they can quickly test any symptomatic students or staff on-site.

School testing guidance and information can be found on the Agency of Education website at

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