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First new Covid-19 tests to arrive in schools from January 24: White House

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WASHINGTON: US colleges ought to obtain the primary further Covid-19 speedy exams being made out there by the federal authorities in about two weeks, a White House official mentioned, as Washington races to maintain courses open amid a record-setting Omicron surge.
The brand new exams have to be ordered by way of state governments, however the White Home can also be making out there lab capability to help 5 million month-to-month PCR exams that colleges can order themselves if their states usually are not being useful, the official mentioned. These ought to arrive in seven to 10 days.
The Biden administration on Wednesday introduced a brand new set of measures to maintain courses open, together with doubling Covid-19 testing capability in colleges with 10 million extra exams, because the Omicron variant spreads quickly by way of america.
Covid-19 hospitalizations in america have elevated by about 33% and deaths are up by about 40% from every week earlier, Rochelle Walensky, head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mentioned on Wednesday.
The Biden administration has urged states to spend $10 billion in sources distributed to them for testing beneath coronavirus laws signed into legislation final 12 months, though some have been gradual to disburse the funds, the official mentioned.
Schooling sources mentioned some college districts in states comparable to Pennsylvania, Texas and elsewhere have struggled to get entry to exams, partly attributable to variations over security protocols, in addition to provide constraints.
“We don’t want any state to stand in the way. Period,” mentioned the official, including the administration would discover different methods to supply sources to varsities in the event that they bumped into hassle with their state governments.
“We’ve been really trying hard to make sure that everyone knows all the resources that are available to them right now,” the official mentioned.
The US Department of Education final 12 months supplied grant funding to a Florida college district that had state funds withheld as a result of it mandated college students put on masks in defiance of the Republican governor’s ban on such mandates.
The difficulty of faculty closures has remained politicized and contentious, however the White Home says almost 96% of colleges nationwide held in-person courses this month, up from 46% of colleges in January 2021.
The official mentioned the additional speedy exams would come from a “dedicated portion” of an current contract, and adequate capability can be out there given contracts the administration is now signing to obtain 500 million speedy exams.

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