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Houghton – Portage Township Schools selected for pilot program

Houghton – Portage Township Schools Superintendent Anders Hill says families anxious about the potential spread of the omicron variant will soon have a new way to monitor its effect locally.

We’re excited. I know parents have voiced concerns about struggling to find rapid tests.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has selected the district to be a part of its backpack program, supplying antigen tests to students to be used at home. The tests can be completed and yield a result in as little as 15 minutes.

Hill sent out an email earlier this week, which included a link to a form allowing for parents to opt-in to the program. Participation is entirely voluntary. Also a part of Hill’s email was a note from MDHHS containing a description of MI Backpack Home Tests. “Face-to-face learning environments are important for students to learn and thrive. To support our students, educators, and staff in providing that invaluable learning environment, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is piloting a new program called MI Backpack Home Tests. This program provides a limited number of free, at-home COVID-19 antigen tests to students and staff in Michigan’s schools during the 2021-2022 school year. This pilot program offers one more tool to create a safer environment for students, staff, and families.”

Anyone who has been positive in the past three months is discouraged from taking a test. Residual virus material can linger within the body resulting in a false positive up to 12 weeks after infection and symptoms have subsided.

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