BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) – Governor Baker’s office announced Wednesday that child care providers in the state will soon be able to sign up for free rapid COVID-19 tests.
The program, called Testing for Child Care, will distribute the tests starting the week of January 31 to eligible programs across Massachusetts. These tests are coming from the 26 million rapid at-home tests being delivered to the state over the next three months. Baker has said the state will give K-12 schools and early child care facilities priority to these tests.
“We expect the rapid test program will be a game-changer for many folks in early education and care,” Baker said during a press conference Wednesday, “as the vast majority of the kids they serve are under the age of five and therefore cannot be vaccinated at this point in time.”
The Testing for Child Care program consists of several testing protocols aimed at keeping young kids in child care and staff continuing to provide said care. These protocols include Symptomatic Rapid Testing, Rapid Cohort Testing and Weekly Surveillance Polled Testing. Baker hopes the protocols will provide relief.
“We know it could be extremely disruptive for so many parents, caregivers and kids to have to pull kids out of care especially without knowing whether not in fact they’re testing positive or not.”
Baker’s office said more than 7,700 childcare providers are eligible to participate in the program and must enroll by January 24. Once enrolled, programs will start receiving tests each month based on the number of children attending and staff.