More Covid testing programs on the way for schools, Education secretary says

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Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said Sunday that Covid testing is key to keeping schools functioning but acknowledged testing systems are not in place in many locations.

“We are working with districts to set up systems that maybe were not set up when there was a dip in spread,” he told host Margaret Brennan on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“We're working closely now to make sure that they're being set up. We're working really hard to make sure that they have access to tests and that they have resources to provide testing,“ he added.

The surge in coronavirus cases due to the appearance of the Omicron variant has led to a steep increase in demand for Covid testing — and made it clear there are not enough tests to go around at this time. In recent days, some Americans seeking tests have waited in line for hours.

Cardona said districts had received billions in federal funding to set up surveillance testing systems, but Brennan pointed out many districts say they simply don’t have the tests. He suggested that some districts were caught off guard by the steep rise in cases caused by the new variant.

“We know that this Omicron came quickly,” he said.

Cardona emphasized that Covid testing was an essential part of efforts to keep students in their school buildings.

“The goal is to have students and staff be safe in their classrooms,” he said.

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