COVID-19 Testing for Kids and Families
We recommend that all school-age youth returning to school, and their families, get tested for COVID-19 every two weeks through the end of the school year. Kids involved in any extracurricular activities or sports should get tested every week.
We are seeing a sharp increase in school-related COVID-19 cases because of a new variant that has the potential to infect many students during an outbreak. Getting tested regularly is the best way to know you are healthy. If you don't have symptoms and have not been close to someone with COVID-19, you do not need to stay home while you wait for your test results.
Anyone can have COVID-19 and not know it. Testing, wearing a mask, social distancing, and staying home (quarantining) when needed are some of the best tools we have to slow the spread. Taking these steps will help avoid pauses to sports and keep kids in the classroom.
For parents and families
There are many COVID-19 testing options, depending on your needs, and each option is available at no cost to you. You can even schedule appointments for the whole family at the same time. There are COVID-19 community testing sites across Minnesota, in addition to local hospitals and clinics. You can make an appointment ahead of time or walk in. You can also use the COVID-19 test at home program to have a test mailed to you.
Learn more about testing site safety and access, as well as how to register the whole family at COVID-19 community testing.
For schools and organizations that serve youth
Please share the following messages with your communities to encourage regular testing for youth and their families.
For newsletters or email
Now that kids have returned to _____, we encourage every family to get tested for COVID-19. Anyone can have COVID-19 and not know it. Getting tested is the best way to know you are healthy. Teachers, staff, and coaches are already doing it. By wearing a mask and getting tested regularly, you’re doing your part to help keep our school and sports open!
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recommends that children and teens who spend time near people outside their immediate household get tested every two weeks through the end of the school year. For kids involved in any after-school activities or sports, MDH recommends getting tested every week. If you don't have symptoms and have not been close to someone with COVID-19, you do not need to stay home while you wait for your test results.
Variants of COVID-19 are a new version of the virus and often more contagious. Variants may also make people sicker than usual. The B.1.1.7 variant has caused a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases, with many of them happening in school and youth sports.
There are many options to get tested and each option is available to you at no cost. You can even schedule appointments for the whole family at the same time.
Visit a community testing site, get tested through your health care provider, or order an at-home test kit. All options are quick, easy, and free to you. For anyone who prefers to speak a language besides English, in-person or language line assistance are available at community testing sites. Some testing sites also have COVID Community Coordinators to help walk people through the testing process. Find a COVID Community Coordinator near you at COVID Community Coordinator Search.
Schedule appointments: Getting Tested for COVID-19 (https://mn.gov/covid19/get-tested/index.jsp) or contact your health care provider Order test at home kit: COVID-19 test at home (https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/testsites/athome.html
Here are some tips to make regular testing part of your family’s routine:
Schedule appointments in advance or add at-home test reminders to your calendar.
Bookmark the hours and location of your nearest testing site on your cell phone.
Include getting tested in your regular weekend or after-school activities.
Make testing appointments a family fun day and do something afterward to celebrate.
Turn testing into an experiment for little kids to learn about science and their bodies. (Smelling an orange or pickles helps your body produce saliva! Bonus: you can eat it when you finish the test.)
Choose an accountability partner and send each other friendly reminders.
Some schools are able to accept students’ at-home test kits on their staff testing day. Your school will let you know if that is an option.
This flyer can be sent to families to encourage regular testing.
Close Contacts and Tracing: COVID-19