On Friday, Jan. 7, Governor Phil Scott announced the launch of the state’s “Tests for Tots” program, which will provide rapid antigen Covid-19 test kits to regulated child care providers across Vermont. Child care providers can enroll in the program effective immediately.
Test to Stay has been an important tool in Vermont’s K-12 schools, saving thousands of in-person instruction days for students, according to the state’s press release. This initiative expands the efforts to child care providers, allowing them to test children and staff when a positive Covid-19 case is detected at their program.
“This approach will safely decrease the burden of contact tracing for child care program staff, while limiting the impact of quarantines on children, their families, and staff,” said Scott urging child care providers to take advantage of this and any future programs.
“With a limited supply of rapid tests at the federal level, Vermont has prioritized our inventory for our kids,” continued Governor Scott. “As we gain access to greater supply, expanding our efforts to support more families and children is an important priority.”
Tests for Tots will offer tests for children between the ages of 2 and 5, as well as for child care program staff. They can be administered at home. The tests are limited to children over the age of 2, consistent with their emergency use authorization from the FDA.
To participate in the program, child care providers will register for test kits and pick them up at locations throughout the state. The Child Development Division (CDD) will notify providers directly about this opportunity with instructions on how to enroll in the program. Information will also be on the CDD website.
“Early education and child care providers are crucial to the growth and development of our youngest Vermonters,” said Interim Department for Children and Families Deputy Commissioner Miranda Gray. “Providing them—and the families they serve—tools to prevent the spread Covid is an important part of our pandemic response.”
The state will continue to monitor the CDC’s recommendations and explore what other rapid testing options might become available for broader use at child care programs.