Building School-Academic Partnerships to Implement COVID-19 Testing in Underserved Populations

Jennifer L. Goldman, Ibukunoluwa C. Kalu, Jennifer E. Schuster, Tyler Erickson, Dana Keener Mast, Kanecia Zimmerman, Daniel K. Benjamin, Luther G. Kalb, Christina Gurnett, Jason G. Newland, Michael Sherby, Maya Godambe, Nidhi Shinde, Treymayne Watterson, Tyler Walsh, John Foxe, Martin Zand, Stephen Dewhurst, Ryan Coller, Gregory P. DeMuriShannon Archuleta, Linda K. Ko, Moira Inkelas, Vladimir Manuel, Rebecca Lee, Hyunsung Oh, Vel Murugan, Joanna Kramer, May Okihiro, Lisa Gwynn, Elizabeth Pulgaron, Russell McCulloh, Jana Broadhurst, Corinne McDaniels-Davidson, Susan Kiene, Eyal Oren, Yelena Wu, David W. Wetter, Tammy Stump, M. Alan Brookhart, Alex Fist, Emily Haroz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: In April 2021, the US government made substantial investments in students’ safe return to school by providing resources for school-based coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) mitigation strategies, including COVID-19 diagnostic testing. However, testing uptake and access among vulnerable children and children with medical complexities remained unclear. METHODS: The Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics Underserved Populations program was established by the National Institutes of Health to implement and evaluate COVID-19 testing programs in underserved populations. Researchers partnered with schools to implement COVID-19 testing programs. The authors of this study evaluated COVID-19 testing program implementation and enrollment and sought to determine key implementation strategies. A modified Nominal Group Technique was used to survey program leads to identify and rank testing strategies to provide a consensus of high-priority strategies for infectious disease testing in schools for vulnerable children and children with medical complexities. RESULTS: Among the 11 programs responding to the survey, 4 (36%) included prekindergarten and early care education, 8 (73%) worked with socioeconomically disadvantaged populations, and 4 focused on children with developmental disabilities. A total of 81 916 COVID-19 tests were performed. “Adapting testing strategies to meet the needs, preferences, and changing guidelines,” “holding regular meetings with school leadership and staff,” and “assessing and responding to community needs” were identified as key implementation strategies by program leads. CONCLUSIONS: School-academic partnerships helped provide COVID-19 testing in vulnerable children and children with medical complexities using approaches that met the needs of these populations. Additional work is needed to develop best practices for in-school infectious disease testing in all children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2022060352C
JournalPediatrics
Volume152
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2023
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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