Schools and Administrators
Labcorp can help school administrators design
a tailored back-to-school plan
Labcorp can help schools design a back-to-school plan
Safely re-opening schools
Before returning to school
At-home collection kits:
- Pixel by Labcorp®: Staff and students can request at-home collection kids. Kits are available for ages 2 and above and use a short nasal swab (for detecting active COVID-19 infections).
- Labcorp home collection kits: At-home testing ordered by school physicians to assist with detecting active COVID-19 infections.
Ensuring safety of students, teachers and staff
During in-person learning
PCR testing: To help determine if students and staff may be actively infected with COVID-19; available via at-home collection kit options or ordered and collected by a healthcare provider.
Antigen testing: To help determine if students and staff may be actively infected with COVID-19; ordered and collected by a healthcare provider.
Antibody testing: To help students and staff determine if they have developed antibodies from vaccination or prior COVID-19 infection.
Operating within local, state & federal guidelines
Refer to the CDC
- Refer to the CDC for the most up-to-date federal guidelines; check your state and local resources for additional guidance.
Before returning to school:
- Customized plans to support a safe return to in-person learning
- Test students with at-home nasals swab tests
- Overnighted samples for timely evaluation
During in-person learning:
- Customized testing program to help identify active infections
- Test for antibodies across students and staff
Contact Labcorp to learn about custom back-to-school solutions.
Solutions for returning to in-person learning
The CDC has updated considerations for schools to aid administrators as they work to return to in-person learning.
The health and safety of students, teachers, staff, their families and the supporting community are a primary concern. The CDC recommends that schools:
- Promote behaviors that reduce the spread of COVID-19
- Maintain healthy environments
- Maintain healthy operations
- Have plans in place for when someone gets sick
We also recommend considering PCR testing or lab-based antigen testing to help your school, teachers, and classrooms make data-driven decisions for returning to and during in-person learning.
This is meant to supplement – not replace – any federal, state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations. Updated as of March 25, 2021.
Additional helpful information for school administrators: Promote behaviors that reduce the spread
Staying home when appropriate
Educate staff and families about when they/their child(ren) should stay home and when they can return to in-person school.
- Actively encourage staff and students who are sick or who have recently had close contact (less than 6 feet for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a period of 24 hours or direct physical contact) with a person with COVID-19 to stay home and get tested for COVID-19. Develop policies that encourage sick employees and students to stay at home without fear of reprisal, and ensure employees, students, and students’ families are aware of these policies. Consider not assessing schools based on absenteeism, and offering virtual learning and telework options, if feasible.
- Staff and students should stay home and follow CDC recommendations if they have tested positive for or are showing symptoms of COVID-19.
- Staff and students who have recently had close contact with a person with COVID-19 should also stay home, monitor their health, and get tested for COVID-19.
- CDC’s criteria can help inform when employees should return to work:
Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
- Teach and reinforce handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and increase monitoring to ensure adherence among students and staff.
- Encourage staff and students to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Used tissues should be thrown in the trash and hands washed immediately with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- If soap and water are not readily available, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol should be used (for staff and older children who can safely use hand sanitizer).
- Teach and reinforce the consistent and correct use of masks. The use of masks is one of many important mitigation strategies to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Masks offer some protection to the wearer and are also meant to protect others, in case the wearer is infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Masks are not Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (e.g., respirators).
- Masks are recommended as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the mask coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice. This is called source control.
- Consistent and correct use of masks is most important when students, teachers, and staff are indoors and when social distancing is difficult to implement or maintain. Individuals should be frequently reminded not to touch the face covering or mask and to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer frequently. Information should be provided to staff, students, and students’ families on proper use, removal, and washing of masks.
- Masks should not be placed on:
- Children younger than 2 years old
- Anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious
- Anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance
- Consistent and correct use of masks may be challenging for some students, teachers, and staff, including:
- Younger students, such as those in early elementary school (Pre-K through 3rd grade).
- Students, teachers, and staff with severe asthma or other breathing difficulties.
- Students, teachers, and staff with special educational or healthcare needs, including intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental health conditions, and sensory concerns or tactile sensitivity.
- While masks are strongly encouraged to reduce the spread of COVID-19, CDC recognizes there are specific instances when wearing a mask may not be feasible. In these instances, parents, guardians, caregivers, teachers, staff, and school administrators should consider adaptations and alternatives whenever possible. They may need to consult with healthcare providers for advice about wearing masks.
- People who are deaf or hard of hearing—or those who care for or interact with a person who is hearing impaired—may be unable to wear masks if they rely on lipreading to communicate. This may be particularly relevant for faculty or staff teaching or working with students who may be deaf or hard of hearing. In this situation, consider using a clear mask that covers the nose and wraps securely around the face. If a clear mask isn’t available, consider whether faculty and staff can use written communication (including closed captioning) and decrease background noise to improve communication while wearing a mask that blocks your lips.
- In addition to those who interact with people who are deaf or hard of hearing, the following groups of teachers and staff may also consider using clear masks:
- Teachers of young students (e.g., teaching young students to read).
- Teachers of students who are English language learners
- Teachers of students with disabilities
- Clear masks should be determined not to cause any breathing difficulties or over heating for the wearer. Clear masks are not face shields. CDC does not recommend use of face shields for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for masks because of a lack of evidence of their effectiveness to control the spread of the virus from the source for source control.
Ensure you have accessible sinks and enough supplies for people to clean their hands and cover their coughs and sneezes. Supplies include soap, a way to dry hands (e.g., paper towels, hand dryer), tissues, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol (for staff and older children who can safely use hand sanitizer), disinfectant wipes, masks (as feasible) and no-touch /foot-pedal trash cans (preferably covered).
Useful items to consider recommending to parents and their students returning to in-person learning:
- Mask/s, labeled with student name
- Water bottle, labeled with student name
- School supplies, labeled with student name
- Laptop, charger, and headphones
- Portable hand sanitizer
- Disinfectant wipes, labeled with student name
- Travel-sized tissues for personal use
Share these tips with parents of students returning to in-person learning at your school:
- Remind K-12 students of what 3 feet of distance looks like
- Practice proper mask wearing and positioning
- Refresh your student on handwashing technique including, when, and how long to wash
- Watch for symptoms, when in doubt, visit the symptom self-checker from the CDC or consider getting tested.
The CDC suggests that people with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny notes
- Nausea or vomiting
This is not an exhaustive list, as people with COVID-19 have reported a wide range of symptoms that may appear between 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. If a person has these symptoms, consult your doctor or request a Pixel by Labcorp® home collection kit.
Emergency Warning Signs*
If a person is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone
*This is not a list of all possible symptoms. Contact your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to your staff, teachers, or your students.
Contact a Labcorp Representative to learn about custom solutions for schools.
* Pixel by LabCorp offers this test and collection kit with an FDA Emergency Use Authorization. This means that while the laboratory performing this test has validation data to support offering this test and the collection kit, neither have been approved or cleared by the FDA. This test has only been authorized by FDA for detection of nucleic acid from SARS-CoV-2 (i.e., the COVID-19 virus), and not for any other virus or pathogen. It is only authorized during the duration of the COVID-19 emergency declaration by federal regulators. LabCorp may modify or cease to offer the test and the test kit upon direction of state or federal regulators in its sole discretion. Please see the Patient Fact Sheet and the Health Care Provider Fact Sheet for additional information.