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.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recommends that children and teens who spend time near people outside their immediate household get tested for COVID-19 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.
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.
To schedule an appointment, please visit: Getting Tested for COVID-19 (https://mn.gov/covid19/get-tested/index.jsp) or contact your health care provider
To order a test at home kit, please visit: COVID-19 test at home (https://www.health.state.mn.us...
Below are some tips from MDH 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.
- 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.
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, getting vaccinated, and testing regularly, you’re doing your part to help keep our school and sports open!