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State health officials are asking families with school-age children to get tested for COVID-19 every two weeks through the end of the school year.

The Minnesota Department of Health officially launched an outreach campaign targeting families, health professionals, schools, and youth organizations with a goal of encouraging regular COVID-19 testing.

“Over the past few months, the number of students attending in-person classes has significantly increased, with thousands more expected to return to the classroom in coming weeks,” said MDH Assistant Commissioner Dan Huff. “With the rate of infection in decline, Governor Walz has adjusted the dials so children and young adults can resume youth sports and other activities. To protect this progress, we need to use all the tools at our disposal. That’s why we are asking parents to make regular testing a priority for their families. Testing can help spot a single case early and prevent it from becoming many cases.”

Health officials say the recommendation is for all youth returning to school, youth sports, or extracurricular activities. The Health Department is also continuing to expand its educator testing program, which offers free COVID-19 testing for teachers and other school staff. They are also recommended to be tested every other week and to continue being tested even after they receive their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

COVID-19 testing is available free at a variety of sites throughout Minnesota and using at home saliva testing kits through the mail. The testing is not a requirement, but health officials say it is a critical part of the state's pandemic response in addition to masking, social distancing, and other safety measures.

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