By Brent Addleman | The Center Square
A new child care program that will provide rapid COVID-19 antigen tests is under way, Gov. Phil Scott said.
The governor announced the “Tests for Tots” program in a news release that will provide the rapid COVID-19 tests to regulated childcare providers in the state. Enrollment for the program is now open.
Scott has urged participation in the program as a measure to “safely decrease the burden of contact tracing for child care program staff,” in addition to limiting the impact of quarantines of children, their families and child care workers.
“With a limited supply of rapid tests at the federal level, Vermont has prioritized our inventory for our kids,” Scott said in the release. “As we gain access to greater supply, expanding our efforts to support more families and children is an important priority.”
According to the release, the Test and Stay program has saved thousands of in-person instruction days for students in the state’s school districts. That initiative has now been expanded to the Tests for Tots initiative, which will permit children and staff to be tested as COVID-19 cases are detected.
Tests will be administered to children ages 2 to 5, in addition to workers at the facility. Tests can also be administered at home and following protocol from the FDA for emergency use.
According to the release, childcare providers are required to register for the test kits and can acquire them at locations throughout the state. The state’s Child Development Division will notify providers about the program and provide instructions on how to enroll. Information will be posted on the organization’s website.
“Early education and child care providers are crucial to the growth and development of our youngest Vermonters,” said Interim Department for Children and Families Deputy Commissioner Miranda Gray in the release. “Providing them – and the families they serve – tools to prevent the spread COVID is an important part of our pandemic response.”