Governor Charlie Baker’s office announced two initiatives on Thursday, August 20, aimed at helping manage COVID-19 clusters when schools return to session.
The first initiative will allow school officials to request deployment of the state’s mobile rapid response unit if a potential cluster of COVID-19 has been identified. School officials must first consult with public health officials before making the request.
When deployed, the mobile units will provide free testing of asymptomatic students or staff, who are not known to be a close contact of someone who tested positive.
Anyone under the age of 18 must have written permission from a parent or legal guardian to receive testing.
The minimal conditions for mobile unit deployment are one of the following:
- Two or more students/staff within the classroom group develop COVID-19 within 14 days, and transmission/exposure occurred in the classroom
- More than 3 percent of the cohort/grade (at least 3 individuals) develop COVID-19 within 14 days, and transmission/exposure occurred in the school
- More than 3 percent of the school develops COVID-19 within 14 days, and there is evidence of transmission within the school
- Three or more staff within the same school develop COVID-19 within 14 days, and there is evidence of transmission among the staff
- Two or more students on the bus develop COVID-19 within 14 days.
The Governor’s second announcement extends the Stop the Spread initiative until September 30. Stop the Spread provides free testing in certain communities with higher rates of COVID-19.
Stop the Spread is providing free testing in 20 communities in Massachusetts.