K-12 Testing

K-12 COVID-19 Testing

Protect Your Health

K-12 Testing

School-based COVID-19 testing programs are a safe, effective way to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and help keep schools open for in-person learning. Testing helps find people who have the virus quickly before it can spread to others. VDH also strongly recommends all individuals who are eligible get vaccinated against COVID-19.

For general COVID-19 and public health guidance for schools, please visit the K-12 Education webpage

VDH offers a variety of testing options for schools to choose from through July 2023.

On-Site Routine Screening Testing Programs

Virginia School Screening Testing for Assurance (ViSSTA) offers schools PCR testing for those without COVID-19 symptoms or a known exposure, to help stop the spread before people become sick. ViSSTA provides vendors, supplies, and staffing for an end-to-end COVID-19 testing experience. Vendors take care of collecting samples, sending them to the lab, and communicating the test results.

CDC and VDH recommend schools may consider implementing screening testing when COVID-19 community levels are medium or high.

Routine Testing
Schools can request routine (such as weekly) testing for special groups of students, like sports teams, or for all students, staff, and/or teachers who want to participate.

Special Event Testing
Schools can request testing events for special events, large gatherings, or after a holiday, such as after summer break or before graduation.

At-Home Testing Programs

VDH also offers rapid antigen testing of those with COVID-19 symptoms or a known exposure, to find out quickly if they have COVID-19 or not.

  • Schools can request at-home rapid antigen COVID-19 test kits to distribute to students, teachers, and staff. The tests use a nasal swab and provide a result in 15 minutes. 
  • The test kits can be used whether or not someone is vaccinated against COVID-19. Schools can request test kits even if they are not participating in ViSSTA screening testing or Test to Stay.
  • Schools do not have to conduct the testing themselves, but can send the test kits home with families. 

For more information: ViSSTA Program eMed Overview (PDF) (5 pp, 233 KB) and Diagnostic Testing FAQs

For conducting testing on-site at school, sample template consent forms are available for parents/guardians and for teachers/staff.

Test to Stay

Test to Stay Logo

Strategy in which close contacts of individuals with COVID-19 who are not up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccines can remain in school as long as they do not have symptoms and test negative on repeated COVID-19 tests.

COVID-19 Test Kits Provided
Schools can request at-home rapid antigen COVID-19 test kits to implement a Test to Stay program.

Reduce the Impact of Absences
This can help students, teachers, and staff who would otherwise have to quarantine at home remain in school and reduce the impact of repeated absences.

Get Started

Program Contact Information


Any school divisions/schools with questions may contact

Office Hours

The VDH K-12 Testing Office Hours are every Tuesday from 3:00 - 4:00 pm.

Office hours are open to representatives from all public and private schools, whether your school is currently participating or interested in learning more. Those interested in attending office hours can access the meeting through the link sent through VCPE, VDOE, or the weekly VISSTA email. Please include your school affiliation when emailing to request the link.

COVID-19 testing support to schools and school divisions

Since September 2021, VDH has successfully provided COVID-19 testing support to 86% of public school divisions, including 176 schools and school divisions across the Commonwealth.

83 public school divisions, independent public schools, and private schools have participated in screening testing, including 44% of all public school divisions.

167 public school divisions, independent public schools, and private schools have received at-home diagnostic test kits, including 83% of all public school divisions. (Data as of 6/16/22)

Conducted Screening Testing Only

Conducted Diagnostic testing Only

Conducted Both Testing Types

FAQ about At-Home Rapid Antigen Test Kits for K-12 Schools

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