School-based testing helps prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and enables students and staff to remain in school for in-person learning, sports and extracurricular activities. Regular school-based testing, in addition to COVID-19 vaccination, physical distancing, good ventilation and proper mask wearing when community transmission levels are high, is a safe and effective way to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and help keep schools open safely for in-person learning.
In addition to testing, Public Health continues to recommend quarantine and isolation measures to prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2. While Public Health has transitioned away from investigating every COVID-19 case and contacting everyone potentially exposed, identifying cases and close contacts in certain settings such as schools, remains an effective strategy for preventing disease spread. Schools continue to implement layered prevention strategies like diagnostic testing, Test-to-Stay strategies and encouraging universal indoor masking when community levels are high based on the KDHE Weekly Cumulative Incidence Rate and CDC COVID-19 Community Levels. The KDHE Weekly Cumulative Incidence Rate map shows the rate of new cases each week by county and is an early indicator of increasing disease rates. The CDC Community Levels map leans more heavily on when an area is experiencing increased hospitalizations and hospital capacity issues which are downstream affects of an increase in cases, and thus a late indicator of rising community transmission.