May 27, 2021

COVID-19 testing programs sustain in-person instruction, extracurricular activities in Utah

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

Utah’s high school COVID-19 testing programs saved in-person instruction days and facilitated the continuation of extracurricular activities during a period of high COVID-19 incidence among high-school aged students, this study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds.

Utah implemented two COVID-19 testing programs:


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  • Test to Play—testing every 14 days to continue participation in extracurricular activities—was implemented at 127 public high schools.
  • Test to Stay—school-wide testing to continue in-person instruction—was implemented at 13 high schools.

From November 30, 2020, to March 20, 2021, more than 59,550 students received testing, and 1,886 (3.2%) had a positive result.

Testing facilitated the completion of nearly 95% of extracurricular competition events and saved an estimated 109,752 in-person instruction student days.

School-based COVID-19 testing should be considered a prevention strategy to identify infections in schools and sustain in-person instruction and extracurricular activities, the researchers say.

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