The Mills Administration announced that pooled testing for COVID-19 in Maine schools will conclude in May, given its reduced effectiveness in limiting the spread of the highly contagious BA.2 variant and the widespread availability of free and convenient at-home tests for students and school staff. The final week for schools to conduct pooled testing will be May 9-13, with the last set of results reported to schools by May 15.
As the pooled testing program concludes, the Department has transitioned to other federally funded initiatives to limit the spread of COVID-19 in schools and Maine communities by expanding access to at-home tests. Since DHHS launched the free at-home testing program for schools on April 7, 2022, 125 Maine schools have placed orders for 528,040 tests. DHHS and DOE continue to encourage schools to place their orders now through April 15, 2022. (RSU 56 has submitted our order.) Test kits will be shipped to schools beginning the week of April 25. Participating schools and SAUs may distribute the at-home tests during this spring, summer, or fall, at their discretion.
In addition to this distribution of at-home COVID-19 antigen test kits to schools, DHHS encourages school staff and families to request free tests through the Federal Free COVID Tests Program and Project Access COVID tests (ACT). Through the successful Project ACT pilot, DHHS has made free tests available directly to Maine people by mail order. As of April 12, Maine households have ordered 266,140 tests through Project ACT. For more information, visit Maine's COVID-19 Testing website.